How to Prepare Your Business for Remote Work Effectively

Sep 04, 2020
6 min read
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Tens and thousands of workers around the world have been told to work from home as governments take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, aka Coronavirus. This means most office-based employees are now remote working for the foreseeable future. It is up to the organizations and companies to ensure that their employees feel supported during this unprecedented situation.

Remote working has now taken over approximately all employees by enabling them with the technology and flexibility to do their best work from home. As quoted by the Head of Digital Transformation for Public Health England, Mr. Harvey Neve, ‘Remote working is an opportunity for people to embrace the way life is nowadays. There isn’t just work and life; there is life, and the outcomes you’re on the hook for at work are part of your life as well.’

However, if you are planning to prepare your business for remote working effectively, a lifetime of sharing memes isn’t enough to qualify your employees are ready to embrace the change. Let us now discuss how to prepare your business for remote working effectively.

Changes in the Workplace Due to Coronavirus

Each day we all learn ways to adapt to the work from home culture, as we are practicing social distance and self-isolation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in the US, while most of us are speculating on the length of this shutdown and when we return to everyday work lives, the reality is that the virus has changed how we work by forcing us to adapt to working from home.

This pandemic has shown more employees working from home by relying on chats, emails, videoconferencing, and phone calls to communicate with colleagues quickly, instead of meeting face-to-face physically at the workplace. Being online all the time has changed the typical workday of eight-hours with employees setting up clear boundaries, apportioning their leisure time, family time, and sleeping hours. Otherwise, they risk a tiring day and spending reduced quality of life.

Changes at Workplace Due to Coronavirus

Kevin Roose, a work-from-home evangelist, told everyone within earshot about the benefits of avoiding the office- no commute, no futile meetings every day, and no distracting co-workers. While researching the pros and cons of remote work for his upcoming book about human survival in this age of automation and artificial intelligence, he has now come to a very different conclusion: 'Most people should work in an office, or near other people, and at any cost avoid solitary work-from-home arrangements. Except for new parents, people who aren't well-served by the traditional office set-up, and those with disabilities for whom remote working is a good option.' [1]

Now we should abide by the health guidelines and not force our employees to work at the office during this pandemic. We should also remember that there are millions of professionals for whom remote working is never a viable option. Working from home offers creative ways to form work communities and build friendlier relationships with colleagues. The comfortable one-on-one video meetings, virtual happy hours, and blurred work versus personal identities increase the employees' ability to be authentic and bring them together virtually while everyone is practicing social distancing.

With the changes in the employees' work lives brought by the pandemic, companies and organizations have been shown how to operate their business more effectively through remote working.

Are These Changes Permanent or Temporary?

As per the world leaders across many countries fighting with Coronavirus, we have to learn to live with this virus. Lockdown forever isn't an option as economies of many countries are reeling under the current pandemic situation. However, work from home is not always a feasible option for some businesses and organizations that need physically present employees to get their manufacturing and construction work up and running. Many fields of work lack their workers to continue with the unfinished work, which has been stalled due to the government's order of implementing a nation-wide lockdown across many countries worldwide.

Also, employees who are currently working from home, fully wired on their smartphones, laptops, and other devices, seem to have jumbled up their schedule altogether. This happens as they have to take up the responsibility of both their home and work while working from home. It involves juggling between scheduling a virtual meeting with their colleagues, booking groceries online, doing household chores, and spending quality time with their family. Moreover, some of them are complaining of fatigue and tiredness due to increased screen time with binge-watching and irregular sleep hours during their self-isolation time at home. [2]

Adam Grant, American Psychologist, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and the best-selling author and host of the podcast, WorkLife, studied how to make work better. In a recent interview for the Podcast of 'World Versus Virus' with the World Economic Forum, he said that owing to the current pandemic environment redesigning the jobs seems a necessary step to be taken as a change in the workplace.[3] Now that means you have to make the workplace more motivating, try to build cultures of creativity and generosity in teams, or even try to make the entire organization more productive.

As leaders in the industry, you should grab this opportunity to give your employees more control over their jobs and hopefully discover that you can trust them to manage their schedules. You may want to become more hands-on in learning about your employees' strengths, interests, values, and motivations. The enforced work from home culture due to COVID-19 has made most organizations worldwide embrace it and continue to experiment with new ways of working post-crisis.

Though it may seem like some employees won't return to their workplace even after the pandemic gets under control, it is too early to come to any conclusion regarding whether these changes are permanent or temporary.

How Can A Company Help Its Employees with Remote Working?

As the workforce is now more distributed than ever, teams and workers become more flexible and agile. As per the statistics, about 50% of the US population works remotely. Also, around 80% of remote workers have reported experiencing less work-related stress. So, you should ensure to help your employees with remote working using the right tools and imparting proper training to support your team during such hard times.

There are video conferencing tools that bring close to an in-person experience with excellent video and audio quality that's user friendly. Some video conferencing tools include Zoom, Google Meet, Appear.in, Google Hangouts, and Join.me. The number of online chatting applications has revolutionized today's companies' working standards, as these have created an enormous shift in their internal communication. Some of the best chat apps include Slack, Chanty, Yammer, and Workplace, by Facebook.

The most critical areas you should consider when looking to invest heavily in remote working solutions include the file storage tools while making sure it reduces the onboarding time with the software. The best file storage tools include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox. Productivity or Project Management tools will provide you with stats that prove your employees are more productive when working remotely. Todoist and Trello are the best project management tools out there. [4]

How Can Employees Set Themselves Up for Success in A Remote Working Environment?

Setting up a calendar and scheduling management can help your employees set themselves up for success in a remote working environment. Collaborating with others while working remotely through project management tools and software is another way to keep track of the work completed by your employees and reward them appropriately for their efforts.

Suppose you are looking for employee engagement with remote working. In that case, you should invest in rewards and recognition software that will effectively recognize your workers' outstanding efforts without leaving your table. Vantage Circle is the best option to consider when it comes to rewards and recognition. It is a fun and engaging way to reform your company cultures and employee engagement.

Vantage Circle is an easy to use software to help you engage with your employees, which will eventually improve your company's culture.[5] It provides your workers with features to appreciate each other that appears on everyone's feed. This public appreciation will empower your employees for success, even when they are in a remote working environment. Vantage Circle is an employee engagement on the go software that ensures every effort of your remote workers gets recognized.

Learning from The Best

Though we have been provided numerous benefits of remote working that help get back on the hours lost in transit, the real challenges involve making this option a viable solution for all kinds of business, especially during a pandemic. On the upside, work from home makes the employee feel happier and thus more productive. But the downsides include your employees not having fewer distractions but a different one, it can negatively impact their work-life balance. Though they could feel liberating, they'll find themselves lonely and isolated.