The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on most businesses. Today, we’ve seen more and more businesses encouraging their employees to work remotely. This has brought a big challenge for these businesses—loss of productivity.
Working remotely means fewer modes of interacting with your staff, more distractions, as well as social isolation, which affects the productivity rate of your staff. So, how can you overcome these challenges as an employer? The following are 6 steps to help you transition to remote working without losing productivity.
Step1: Create an online platform for your staff to work in
For your staff to work remotely, they will need an essential set of tools, which should allow them to work, and collaborate with other employees. These tools normally differ from company to company, and from industry to industry. For instance, you can opt to go for Google Docs to perform the normal MS Office tasks, Monday.com to manage your projects, GitHub for engineering, or Dropbox for file sharing.
The secret is, choose a set of tools that your staff won’t have a challenge when using from home. At times, your staff will need a VPN to connect to some of these platforms. If that’s the case, make sure that they have a VPN set in their PCs. You should avoid using different tools for the same job. Moreover, ensure that multiple users can sign in to a single tool at once when working remotely.
Step 2: Provide communication tools
Next, you will need to provide simple and accessible tools, which should allow your staff to connect and communicate when working remotely. Today, we have numerous tools, such as Slack, Discourse, and Mattermost that allow staff to communicate and share files. Again, you will need to choose a single communication platform that should allow easy communication in your company.
When you choose a particular platform, ensure that it becomes the main platform for your staff to communicate. Your online communication platform should have the following levels:
- Team – this should allow team members on the same level to communicate—like the North West sales team. This level allows team relationships to be forged, and work to be done.
- Group – this allows the greater department, as well as the sub-teams to communicate—like Sales, Marketing, or HR. Projects, policies, as well as broader discussions, take place at this level.
- Company – this should allow all staff members to communicate. The level allows cross-company relationships to happen, as well as all staff to interact together.
Step3: Train your staff
In addition to training your staff, you will need to provide a Q&A platform for your staff. This is essential, especially if your staff has never worked remotely. Most of them will have tons of questions, as well as anxiety about this mode of working. The best thing for any employer to do is to assist them to adapt fast to remote working, to avoid disrupting productivity.
So, you will need to organize an orientation session, which should cover the following topics:
- Setting up a comfortable workstation
- An outline of the platforms and tools available for your staff, and how to use them
- Creating a work schedule, which should include breaks, and avoiding disruptions from family
- How to use the available communication platforms
- How to get help whenever you need it
Step4: Facilitate daily check-ins
Since you won’t be getting daily face-to-face communication with your staff, you must create a daily check-in schedule for your staff. This should allow you to maintain connections with your staff, as well as set priorities. A simple thing like morning check-ins through video or phone calls or instant messaging will help you to retain normalcy in your company. You can choose to hold these check-ins one-on-one with every staff member or department. The productivity tools highlighted above can help you to achieve this.
Step5: Update your staff regularly
One of the greatest drawbacks of working remotely is the lack of regular updates to your staff. Therefore, you need to make sure that you update your staff regularly through staff webinars and internal company blog.
Typically, your blog can cover the following areas:
- Current affairs facing your staff and company, like changes in leadership, mergers, large contracts, and Covid-19 updates.
- Updates about new staff programs, changes, and benefits.
- Recognizing new projects and achievements, and appreciating the staff or teams behind that.
Step 6: Set realistic goals
Experts from the virtual staffing agency Allshore say that you will need to set realistic goals for the staff working remotely. One way to lose productivity after switching your staff to remote working is by setting unachievable goals. To avoid this, you must consider what your staff can achieve while working remotely. Besides, you must factor in any kind of distractions that your staff might face while working from home.
Then, you will need to have a list of top priorities and share this list with your employees. With this, everyone will be on the same page. Besides, they will work in unison to achieve the same goals. As said earlier, working remotely might be a new thing for your employees. Therefore, you must expect some hitches as your staff adjusts to remote working. Besides, you will need to keep your goals at a reasonable level.