By Jason Richmond, CEO & Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
This sudden and dramatic upheaval has executives scrambling to set up employees to work from home with as little disruption as possible.
According to a recent snap poll in the Asia/Pacific region, 91 percent of organizations have already begun to implement work from home strategies. In the U.S. there’s no reason to believe the number isn’t as high, and in the days to come get higher.
Some companies are in a better place than others—companies that have supported remote working. But not many. According to US Census data, eight million Americans were working from home in 2017, but that’s just 5 percent of the workforce.
What’s most important is to have a solid plan and infrastructure in place to ensure success.
1. The Right Tools
Tools such as Teamviewer (which is free) is one option for remote workers who need basic desktop access. Slack is a popular real time chat tool that will also cut down on email. Tele-conferencing is also important. For smaller groups and one on one meetings, Zoom is free and very easy to use. Google Hangouts recently upped participant limits to twenty-five. GoToMeeting and WebEx are also great for team meetings. If you need a quick way to share screens, try join.me. For more ideas, check out https://www.zdnet.com/article/remote-working-101-professionals-guide-to-the-tools-of-the-trade/
2. Build in Social Time
Managers should set reminders on their calendars to call each team member at least once a week, just to touch base. After all, when you walk by someone’s cubical or office, you usually take a few minutes to chat. With remote workers, such spontaneous interactions do not occur; you need to make them happen.
3. Set Boundaries and Guidelines
4. Keep the Team Together
If you used to have a weekly face to face team meeting, continue this process using a conference tool. Encourage participation by “going around the room” calling on people to provide their thoughts and ideas. People who are naturally reticent in face-to-face meetings might be even more so on a call. Get everyone’s voice into the “room” at least once. Acknowledge and recognize accomplishments during these calls. Brainstorm ideas and solve problems, just as you would if you were all in the same room.
5. Get Creative
6. Set Boundaries
Enabling employees to work remotely is critical during our current health crisis. But more than that, it is one of the top perks employees desire. If you or your organization has been hesitant to try it, this is the time to expand your flexibility. Just don’t be surprised if you find an increase in productivity, engagement, and morale.