Over the past week, it’s become increasingly apparent that not only is the future of work remote, but the immediate present of work is now remote. As the phrase “social distancing” becomes more commonplace in our lives, it’s important to evolve our work strategies as quickly as we adjust to evolving travel policies, health regulations, and potential isolation.
Fortunately, translating your office work to remote work is not without a template. It is during these times that we can turn to seasoned remote workers for advice, and as one of them, the RootLo Team has a few tips for anyone struggling with this transition. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you attempt to adapt to our new working world.
Forget the “Normal” 9-5
Often, the most alluring aspect of remote work is the flexibility both in time and space. If your company holds strictly traditional hours, it may be necessary to loosen that grip in the spirit of, well, reality.
Your employees most likely come from a variety of different backgrounds, housing situations, and family dynamics and as such, they will not experience the same level of difficulty during the transition to remote work. Some of your employees are likely dealing with childcare, the sudden need to designate a home office, and perhaps even a lack of proper internet — all of these result in a need for flexible hours. Not everyone can be productive between 9 and 5; it’s best to let that expectation go.
…but Don’t Forget Deadlines
Contrary to popular belief, remote work is not just one long, glorious vacation. If your employees are used to holding strict hours, the sudden hourly freedom may very well translate into that misconception, and you may witness a temporary drop in productivity.
While hard-working folks who are used to working from home are less likely to go through the delusion of suddenly having a holiday, it does take time to adjust. To help speed that process, it’s helpful to establish tangible milestones. This can restore structure in an otherwise nebulous working day, and it allows your employees to self-motivate towards a defined goal.
Remember that some employees flourish in a “whenever, whatever” working environment, but others require more guidance. Ultimately you know how your employees work and can adapt based on that, but be sure to keep them aware of your productivity expectations.
Utilize Tools for Virtual Meetings
Just because your workforce is becoming remote does not mean that you’ll never speak to them again. While modern society comes with the conditions necessary for a pandemic to spread incredibly quickly, technology has also equipped us with the tools required to see each other face to face, within the parameters of social distancing and quarantine.
In a pinch, classic Skype or Google Hangouts are fine for video chats and basic screen sharing. However, I highly recommend signing up for Zoom or GoToMeeting because these virtual meeting spaces were specifically designed for webinars, conference calls, and virtual work spaces. With Zoom and GoToMeeting, you’ll be optimized for large-scale meetings without any additional hassle. If you have a significant number of employees and you need to have a meeting during this time, it is imperative that you invest in the right tools to do so.
Check on Your Employees
As a supervisor of newly-remote workers, it is now your responsibility to check in with your employees regarding their health, both physical and mental.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re now in charge of group therapy or physicals — unless you are actually their doctor, this would be wildly inappropriate. However, it’s best practice during this transition to keep yourself aware of resources for those struggling with isolation, those finding it difficult to collect proper supplies, and those who may have a less-than-ideal home office situation.
As the boss, you are the person to whom your employees look first for information. Stay updated on the rapidly evolving situation, and send out a daily email blast informing them of relevant policy changes and links for further information. This is a good way to manage expectations and successfully make the transition from panic to productivity.
Are you an experienced remote worker with advice for newly-remote workers? Tell us about it in the comments.
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