Covid-19 was an unfortunate pandemic, and it certainly disrupted a lot of processes and lives. However, it also forced us to think critically about some things we had always taken for granted, and we had to make improvements as a result. In that sense, it wasn’t entirely a bad thing after all.
One of the things Covid-19 forced us to think about was how we work. For the longest time now, working in an office cubicle from nine to five, commuting to and from work, and constant supervision has been the default state. It was ‘just the way things work around here’. But with shelter-in-place orders and the fear of getting infected or infecting others, things had to change. We realized that working from home, employees can be just as productive as, if not more than, when they’re in an office cubicle. It also allows them to be with their loved ones and avoid the soul-crushing, traffic jam-packed, time-stealing commute to and from work. Telecommuting is where it’s at!
Many companies have taken the leap into being fully remote, including Twitter, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
However, not all companies have leaped onto the bandwagon. For those new to this, things can feel a little unfamiliar, and the rush as companies around the world work to go fully remote can feel a little overwhelming. In today’s article, we will offer five helpful tips to help you transition your company fully into a remote one.
1) HAVE ONLINE PLATFORMS EMPLOYEES CAN WORK IN
The backbone of a remote company is the set of platforms and tools that enable its employees to collaborate on their tasks. The specific tools will vary from one industry to another. You might use something as simple as Google Docs and Sheets, or something a little more sophisticated, like Moday.com or Basecamp.
It doesn’t really matter which set of tools you use so long as it works for you. But do pick a stack and then commit to it by educating all your workers on how to use them in the comfort of their homes. If they need a VPN, make sure they all have it. Also, have one tool per purpose, as multiple ones will increase complexity.
Another way to avoid complexity is to ensure that as many tools as possible can be signed into by your employees from a single account. Try not to use tools tied to a specific location or office. They should be omnipresent, allowing for collaboration across the entire company.
2) HAVE TOOLS EMPLOYEES CAN USE TO COMMUNICATE
Once you have platforms that enable collaboration, the next step is to set up communication tools that employees can use to talk to each other. Again, there are many options here, including Discord, Mattermost, and Slack. Whichever you pick boils down to your preferences and what works for you. The point is to choose one and commit to it.
Once you’ve picked a tool, let it be the default communication channel for everyone, whether they are working remotely or in the office. There should be three levels to the tool:
- Team chats – Team chats are where team members can talk. This channel is to help them work efficiently together and forge relationships.
- Group chats – This is where the general departments with all their teams can talk. This is for broader conversations covering large projects and matters of department policy.
- Company chats – Company chats are where everyone in the company gets to talk. Relationships across the entire company can easily be forged here.
You can use group and company chats to disseminate important messages to your employees. If you need help writing them, you can get a custom papers service to write company memos professionally for you so your communication is clear and concise.
You should also allow people to join communication channels belonging to other teams for the right reasons. The guys from marketing can join the product development chat, and the engineers can join the design channel to give valuable input.
You might also want to set up more informal channels that aren’t company-related. These help people to socialize with each other and can be based on common interests, such as yoga or music.
Another important point is to try to have video conferences for company meetings to expand the communication bandwidth.
3) HAVE A Q&A SERVICE AND TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES
Your employees will be just as new to remote work as you, and so they will naturally have a lot of questions about it. To help them hit the ground running, have an orientation session on remote work. It can be a short webinar covering important topics, such as the ones below:
- Home office set, especially having the right desk and chair (they need to be ergonomic and comfortable). You can also train them on getting properly connected to company platforms.
- Give the team a general overview of the platforms and tools they can use to perform their tasks and communicate with each other.
- Advise your staff on which expectations they can set at home, such as closing the door when working to avoid getting distracted by family members, as well as taking breaks and not working past official working hours.
- Give your staff training on how to communicate using company channels and how to get updates and news on the goings-on in the company.
- Tell everyone where they can get help when they have questions.
You might want to create a company handbook that people can use as a reference about all of the discussed points above. If you need it done quickly and professionally, you can get an essay writing service to do the work for you.
You should also have some kind of help desk to assist people with the issues they might have, both publicly and privately.
4) ALWAYS KEEP YOUR EMPLOYEES UPDATED
One of the major challenges of remote work is that there is no watercooler around which employees can gather and update each other on the goings-on at the company.
Humans are naturally social creatures, so this can be a bit of an issue. To avoid the wrong kind of gossip going around on communication channels, always disseminate regular updates and information through webinars or an internal blog or newsletter. You can use this to talk about updates on current events relevant to the company, announcements, employee recognition, and project reporting.
5) EXPECT AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD AND SUPPORT IT
Remote work comes with its own set of challenges, and not everyone is going to be comfortable or productive working remotely right out the gate. Some people actually like the social structure and environment of an office. As such, expect a period of adjustment, and train your managers to help their team members adjust to remote work. You should also empower and encourage your staff to embrace remote work by helping them with anything they might need.
Remote work works, but that doesn’t mean it’s a plug-and-play solution. By following the tips above, you should be able to transition smoothly into this new paradigm of work and reap its benefits for your company.