With the long term impact of Covid-19 remaining unclear, organisations are rightly considering the potential impact on both their productivity and the wellbeing of their staff
Key to this is an organisation’s ability to implement effective remote working policies at pace, and to ensure that employees are equipped to work productively from home for long periods of time if required.
But where to begin? Here are some things you might consider to make remote working work for you and your team:
Make sure you have the right tools to combat worker isolation. Gone are the days when remote working involved typing away within your own four walls with limited team interaction. Video conferencing is an incredibly powerful tool to maintain healthy human interactions throughout the working day. Starting your days with a daily remote Stand Up via video link is also a great way to keep up the pace on any projects, to flag any blockers, and to maintain a sense of connection between employees and their team.
If you already have software with a chat function, open this up to the team at lunchtime (or whenever feels right to you!) for casual conversation and photos for those who want to maintain those essential office relationships. Blowing off steam and communicating outside of project-related calls is a crucial tool for supporting employee wellbeing, and checking in on one another from time to time can be a powerful driving force for continued productivity for the remainder of the day.
Give guidance on setting up remote ‘work zones’ in the home. Every employee’s home is different, from studio flats with limited space to homes with a dedicated study ready for immediate use. Regardless, it is important to try to carve out an area that is just for work hours – ideally not where you sleep or relax in your spare time. For some employees, gadgets such as laptop stands or additional back support for chairs might make remote working a more comfortable experience. Getting the space right is crucial for productivity as well as positively preserving the separation between work and home.
Some employees may be caring for children or other relatives at home during this time, or become sick themselves. Be understanding that even though remote working is possible, it is also perfectly reasonable that circumstances may make it impossible to work, or to work according to usual patterns. Things may change and priorities may shift. Keep those lines of communication open throughout this time.
Utilise cloud based technology to share and save documents securely, within agreed shared folder structures, and with proper version control measures in place. This makes working more collaborative as well as ensuring more resilience should an employee become unwell, with others able to quickly pick up any outstanding work without undue stress. Cloud technology can remove the need for expensive servers and the risk of being unable to access locally stored files in the long term too, so is well worth thinking about beyond its enablement for remote working.
Use this as an opportunity to look inwards. If the thought of remote working itself seems impossible, consider why this might be the case and try to adopt more Agile, flexible and resilient working practices going forward. Remote working can be a fantastic tool for empowering your existing workforce as well as opening up your potential recruitment opportunities. It can also be a great test of the usability, affordability and durability of the technology you choose to procure and how you might streamline your processes for the future.
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