The idea of working remotely is attractive to many, but it has its challenges just like anything else. COVID-19 has forced many companies to quickly transition to remote operations. Thousands of people across Canada are now working from home for the first time. This has obviously created a challenging transition period for employees.
Companies are faced with this new normal way of operations. There are new ways to do things, new processes, and obstacles to overcome while trying to keep productivity at normal levels. A key success factor during this time is to help employees transition to remote work quickly. Here we provide you with some tips to support this transition:
need help transitioning your workforce to remote operations?
provide tools and resources
All employees need to be on the same playing field when working remotely. They need access to the same tools, software and hardware to do their job effectively. Not everyone has a home office setup. As an employer, you need to set up your team with the collaborative tools they need to be productive.
Provide tools and support such as:
- Remote access to company software or databases
- A VPN or secure network for employees to use
- Hardware such as laptops, monitors, keyboards, phones, etc.
- IT support for employees who experience technical issues while transitioning
help set up home office spaces
Once you provide the IT resources for your employees, you need to offer support to help them get set up. Employees’ IT skills can vary greatly. While some have no issues setting up their remote workspace, others need a step-by-step guide. Make sure you offer support and troubleshooting to help your employees get up and running as quickly as possible. Ongoing IT support will be required. Issues are bound to arise, especially if you are using new collaborative software and other online tools.
set clear expectations
Job tasks and expectations have changed for many, simply because you cannot do everything at home that you’d normally do in the office. Even so, you need to set expectations for your employees.
Have a clear structure in place for your team. Keep working hours the same. If possible, keep the same work processes and flows intact. If something has to change, make it clear what is expected of your employees. It’s important to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what they should be doing during these uncertain times.
Now more than ever you need to be available to your employees. It is very important to keep them up to date with the latest developments in the workplace. Be transparent and honest with your team. Things are changing on a daily basis. Make sure everyone understands how COVID-19 is affecting the company.
Hold video meetings to be more social and collaborate with your employees. Have an online chat group for employees to have conversations and ask questions. Most importantly, be available via email and phone to offer support to employees when they need it.
Even though it’s ideal for everyone to work the same hours and follow the same processes, it’s not possible in all cases. Be flexible. Schools are closed, it’s an emotional time, and people are concerned for their well-being. Be understanding if an employee needs to shift their work hours.
Prioritize what is and is not important right now. There are some tasks that can be put on hold. Perhaps work roles and responsibilities need to temporarily shift to make things work. Be flexible and work things out with your employees.
There is no such thing as normal right now. The sudden change in how your employees work has an effect on everyone. You cannot expect your employees to be operating at the level they do under normal circumstances. They are adapting to a new work environment, have new distractions, not to mention the stress the pandemic has placed on everyone as a society. Be understanding. Check in with your team. Offer them support when needed and give them time to ramp up.
Many companies are working remotely out of necessity today. The quicker you can adapt, the better position you’ll be in. Give your employees the support they need to be successful, and your company will get by and come out strong once this pandemic comes to an end.