Let’s start with a serious question, is working from home productive? Is working from home actually considered work at all? The answer is definitely YES!
Given numerous evidence throughout the business and employment history, working remotely has been proven as the smartest management strategy of all time; even smarter than giving the employees private offices.
If Normally – as a company – the majority of your work is conducted from the main headquarter, therefore, you’ve got the chance to implement it ASAP. This is an opportunity to go all-in with applying this approach without any regrets or concerns for the sake of your employees and the society during the escalation of the pandemic.
Before diving head-first, it’s crucial to buckle up and be well-armed with the right strategies and tools to pass this hard test with flying colors. Not to mention that any shift in the work environment – as we used to know it – can cause some problems, and have some downsides that may pose a serious deficiency in the workflow.
Since our only priority right now is to return the favor towards people who are working relentlessly and ferociously to control Coronavirus (COVID-19) – and of course to keep our families and beloved ones safe from the infection – by staying at home; here is how you can translate this policy into an effective working environment with minimum loss and risks.
1. Trust your employees
You hired them for all the good reasons, right? Why won’t you cut them some slack and let them be? They need it now more than ever due to all this panic release showering bad news and events. Show them trust & care and they will surprise you with their outputs.
2. Create a schedule
A clear detailed schedule for every employee with a list of tasks, deadlines, and online meetings’ hours will be more than enough at this point.
3. Set boundaries for communication
As in specifying when they should start their working hours when they should end it, and set a way for ensuring its efficiency. For instance, you can pre-arrange an online video call for a quick meeting every day at 9 A.M in order to organize and assign the whole day’s tasks and to ensure that everyone knows their to be accomplished mission of the day; leaving no space for misunderstanding nor interruptions.
4. Arm your employees with the right equipment
If they need any equipment, that was already available during the normal working days, facilitate the process of them taking it to their homes until the pandemic goes away. Thus, they can maintain and even exceed their productivity rates, moreover to minimize all the complaints.
5. Use the right tools
Tools, tools and again tools! They exist for a valid reason. There is a sea of tools on the internet, and here is the best of them, most of these tools are either FREE or provide a free-trial so that you can give them a try to make sure any investment you undertake is justified :
• For group video/audio conferences Zoom is a great tool, also Google Hangouts is very handy, almost everyone has a google account and ready to go.
• Slack and Telegram are the best choices for private/group instant messaging and team collaboration
• For effective project management, and depending on the nature and size of your team, you can go for ASANA , JIRA , Trello or Basecamp it will eventually cost you around $10 per user / month
• InVision is a great tool for design teams collaboration and live sharing of feedback between teams AND with your clients
• Dashlane is very useful for password management, it makes the process of sharing credentials and sensitive access information organized and secured outside office, specially for social media and web development teams
• Zapier is a magical tool for automating notifications and integrating all the common tools together, it can do wonders and makes you HAPPIER when implemented properly.
• Teamviewer and AnyDesk are the best choices to access your work computers remotely in case you missed something OR if your work PC is still needed to perform processes with high-end hardware specs requirements, such as Adobe After Effects or 3D Max
You may still face a little discomfort or some annoying challenges; especially if you own a company hosting different types of teams. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget that part. Here are some recommendations in order to overcome those minor inconveniences:
• Manage different teams: As desperate times call for desperate measures, also different teams call for different measures. Yet it’s totally controllable. You can always create a specific checklist for every team containing all their related needs and requirements.
• Ensure connectivity: poor internet connection may cause a lot of damages other than frustration. You can always ask your employees to send an email with all the problems they may face at home and their demands. The solution may be as simple as buying a USB modem stick!
There you have it, our complete guide to work from home and how to manage it. Apply these tips and focus on your well-being. We will definitely get through this together. Don’t let yourself fall victim to fear, anxiety & depression. Just remember that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while being quarantined because of the plague, why would your employees be any less productive?