With the current pandemic, many businesses have had to find new ways to adapt. For a lot of companies, working from home was the last resort or just an option they hadn’t explored before the COVID-19 crisis. This article explores ways to continue and adapt the running of a business, even when employees have to work from home.
1. Communication is key:
This may sound like an obvious one, but making sure everyone on the team feels like they are still kept in the loop is key to keeping everyone on track. Making sure that everyone is readily available via email, phone, text, instant message, Skype and/or conference call is important. Everyone will have a different routine when working from home, so setting times for weekly or daily meetings over Skype, Microsoft teams, Zoom, Google Meet or Google Hangouts is essential.
2. Being computer savvy
Making sure everyone has the correct equipment to work from home is very important. Ensure all your team members have access to a work or a personal laptop so that they can continue to work as per usual, from home. As well as having the correct software and security installed to access and share sensitive documents safely. Please bear in mind that not everyone will be as quick to adapt when working with new ways of working remotely and using new software, so there might be some general IT issues to expect.
3. Set office hours
Keeping an element of routine has a significant effect. Make sure to create a time slot for each of the day’s activities. If your office hours are normally 9-5pm with an hour for lunch then please make sure the team is aware is still the case, even when working from home. Nevertheless, try to remain flexible due to this new set of circumstances as everyone might have their own distractions or challenges with isolation (children at home, pets or a partner that also is working from home, difficulties trying to remain motivated), so this also might need to be factored in.
4. Create a rewards system
Encourage the team to take regular breaks after completing small tasks, such as walking outside for some fresh air, doing some small chores in-between (i.e. putting washing in the dryer or watering the plants). Not everyone will be able to stay focused if they do not move around for a period of time or stimulate their brain activity in different ways. Feeling successful and fulfilled is so important when there is no one to socially communicate with in person.
5. Socialising whilst social Distancing
Checking in with all the team members in a group conference call and / or individually can make the atmosphere feel more like a friendly office environment. It is important to check that everyone is okay on a personal level as well as from a professional point of view. A great way to do this is a Friday afternoon Skype call with drinks and snacks, or a team lunch once a week. This will keep the general morale high, as a lot of people really enjoy and benefit from regular and informal communication or simply socialising after work.
Once you have the right software, tools and means of communication, working from home will be no problem. It might take some time to get into the swing of it, but once you have a routine that works for your organisation, it will become a successful modus operandi that can be used in the future, even beyond COVID-19. Having the right resources, and processes in place, will now allow people to take time off from the office to work from home when childcare or critical personal appointments may pop up, so that crucial work gets done. Working from home is definitely a skill worth exploring and mastering as a business!
Several international businesses or brands that are fully remote are successful in their own industries and have been able to adapt to COVID-19 isolation constraints, such as:
Kay Flawless (digital creative agency)
Ambi Digital (web design consultancy),
Appen (data development for AI and machine learning),
The Doers (brand consultancy),
Automattic (open source application software engineering)
Collage (Photo gifts company)
Partner Centric (Marketing Agency)
Toptal (Freelancing platform)
Zapier (App integration company)