Has the spread of Coronavirus forced you and your staff to relocate to a safer location? How is remote work being handled at your company?
Since the emergence of the Coronavirus epidemic in December 2023 in China, and its subsequent labelling as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2023, the world has seen dramatic changes. Governments have implemented quarantine measures in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, and businesses are having to re-evaluate their strategies in response.
In recent times, many remote workplaces have a rather eerie atmosphere, resembling something akin to a suspense film. Nonetheless, it could be argued that the real horror movie for some organizations is not the deserted atmosphere, but rather a lack of understanding as to how to effectively manage a remote workforce.
A remote work arrangement has been implemented at your company as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic, and issues are starting to arise.
As remote working has become increasingly popular, it is important to ensure that employees are being managed effectively and that productivity is not hindered. If your organization has never implemented a dispersed team before, there are a few key points to consider to ensure the success of remote working. Firstly, it is important to ensure that all of your employees are comfortable with the technology needed for remote working. This includes ensuring that all employees have access to necessary hardware and software, as well as a comprehensive understanding of how to use them. Additionally, it is important to create a communication plan between employees, as well as between management and employees. Setting up regular check-ins or team calls can help to ensure a smooth transition to remote working. Furthermore, it is important to create a system for tracking and monitoring performance, as remote working can make it difficult to gauge productivity. Setting clear goals and objectives can help to ensure that employees are working towards the same objectives. Additionally, creating a system of rewards and recognition can help to motivate employees and ensure that they remain productive. Overall, making the transition to remote working can be a challenging task, but with the right plan in place, it can be a successful endeavor.
At Works, we are highly experienced in the recruitment and placement of remote staff, as we are a 100% remote organization. Therefore, we can provide detailed and comprehensive information on the resources and advice necessary to ensure the success of your company’s work-from-home (WFH) initiative during the Coronavirus pandemic.
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Recent research has indicated that remote employees tend to be more productive than those based in onsite offices. Whilst it is true that many individuals have the resources to make this happen, some who are just starting out with remote work may think that all their tasks can be completed using only their mobile phones. Whilst this is not impossible, it does require increased effort and time investment. Therefore, it is essential that both yourself and your team have access to the necessary equipment to enable you to hold video conferences, complete tasks and meet deadlines effectively.
However, I don’t have the most up-to-date pair of wireless headphones. Not at all what we had in mind.
Having a reliable pair of earbuds with a functional microphone is essential for remote working. You don’t need the latest and greatest gold-plated earphones; the world is changing right now and it’s important to focus on the basics first. All you need to get started is a computer, preferably a portable one. As time passes, you may wish to add additional items such as a comfortable chair, a second monitor, and a nice desk as a reward for staying at home during the quarantine. If there are any employees with broken computers, the first step is to contact them and establish what resources they need to get back up and running.
At Shopify, for example, every employee is provided with a £1,000 allowance to be spent on whatever they feel is necessary, which could include purchasing items to create a comfortable home office. It may not be necessary for everyone to spend that amount of money, however, it is a sensible idea to ensure they all have the necessary equipment to work from home efficiently.
Prepare a Plan of Action for Communication
As a business owner or manager, you are well aware of the importance of having open lines of communication between employees. For a virtual team to be successful, it is essential that communication is of a high quality. It is easy to see how the flow of information between different parts of the organization is just as important as the way that blood carries oxygen around the body. This demonstrates how vital effective communication is to completing tasks successfully. Moreover, it is essential to consider how a company’s culture is built up over time and how well it is understood by all members of staff.
As the manager of a firm that has not previously implemented remote working, the initial step should be to ensure that all staff members have the necessary equipment and resources in order to work from home. Once this is done, it is important to arrange a meeting with your staff, preferably via video call, in order to discuss the new approach. This would be an ideal opportunity to provide guidance and answer any questions that the team may have.
Given the widespread fear and anxiety caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial that we set the record straight and provide clarity on the facts in order to help people make the required adjustments and understand the rationale behind them. Doing so will help to alleviate some of the panic and encourage constructive action.
It is certain that if you are feeling disheartened or angry about a given situation, your team members will reflect this in their attitude. On the other hand, if you maintain an optimistic outlook, your remote employees are more likely to demonstrate excellent performance. It is worth noting that their morale will likely improve if you do.
It is essential that the company’s remote workers have a clear understanding of the communication protocols and the structure of the business. As the leader, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone is aware of the expected levels of communication and to provide instructions on how to contact each other. You may also wish to implement certain restrictions, such as limiting messages to certain times or reserving a particular medium for time-sensitive issues. It is essential that clear instructions are given and not to make the mistake of assuming that everyone will be able to figure it out on their own.
But how can we do all this? I’ve compiled a list of resources that could be useful to you.
Instruments for Real-Time Conversation
At Works, we strongly recommend using Slack for instant messaging. Not only can you exchange images, documents, GIFs, movies, memes and more, but you can also create channels about various topics, such as cute pets or fan clubs. We have found that Slack is most effective for short communications, including reminders, requests and brainstorming sessions. Another great feature is the public channel where you can broadcast an update to all users. We use Slack to share congratulations and welcome new team members, as well as to provide resources such as articles and videos of interest to the entire team. It is also the perfect platform for a digital water cooler, with the option to install a bot that pairs you up with a team member for a weekly video call.
There are many more options available than Slack; we’ve tested and liked Bitrix 24, Google Chat Hangouts, Twist, Yammer, Azendoo, and a few others.
Methods of Videoconferencing
Video conferencing is an essential requirement for businesses with remote employees. It enables a sense of unity and belonging amongst the team, as everyone feels connected and understood by the organization.
In particular, we have selected Zoom as our preferred meeting tool due to its capacity for recording meetings, an extensive range of complimentary features, and compatibility with a variety of add-ons and other services. We have found Zoom to be an excellent communication platform and its screen sharing capability is highly beneficial when delivering presentations or demonstrating software. Furthermore, Zoom is the platform on which we usually hold our project meetings and daily briefings, during which the team reviews their respective agendas and requests help if needed.
Skype, Google Hangouts, ConnectWise, and TeamViewer are some more options for online meetings.
Initiate the Procedures You’ll Need to Work from Home
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it may be necessary to reassess our pre-existing responsibilities and objectives in light of the organisation’s revised communication structure. To facilitate this, we should gather the management team together to discuss the potential effects of COVID-19 on the business. Once working from home arrangements have been put in place, it is essential to set clear objectives and create detailed plans to ensure that our employees are properly organized, aware of their duties and have the necessary skills to complete them.
Now that you have a strategy in place, it is time to put it into practice. There are a number of excellent project management tools available that can help you to keep on top of everything. As a manager of a remote team, it is vital that you ensure that everyone is productive and aware of their duties. Just because everyone is working from home does not mean that you have the freedom to complete tasks whenever it suits you. These tools enable you to set deadlines, assign tasks, and monitor progress without constantly having to check up on your team.
Our suggestions for you are as follows:
At [Your Company], we have identified Basecamp as the most suitable tool for managing our projects. As a small business, it provides all the features we need, such as the ability to create to-do lists, set deadlines, share files, and more. From my experience, it is an invaluable resource for planning new blog entries, allowing me to keep track of release dates, titles, content, and other associated information, such as research, studies, and statistics. Furthermore, Basecamp also has the functionality to create to-do lists, assigning each team member an individual task to complete. This is an effective way of encouraging collaboration, as it notifies the next person on the list once the job is done.
If you are looking for a project management software solution, there are a number of excellent options available. Asana, SharePoint, Dapulse, Quip and Trello are all great choices. It is important to consider the size of your company or project before deciding on a management system. To help you make your decision, our blog provides a more in-depth explanation of each of the software programmes we recommend. Reading through it should help to put your mind at ease.
Storage in the Cloud
Cloud storage is the most convenient and secure way to store essential documents and data. It provides your staff with an easy way to exchange important resources. Cloud computing storage solutions are indispensable for contemporary distributed businesses, as they allow employees around the world to access and share the same information.
Here Are the Things We suggest:
G Suite is one of the leading options when it comes to virtual workplaces. It allows for easy integration of business emails with other Google applications, such as Calendar, Drive and Hangouts, enabling users to send and receive messages and attachments with ease. In addition, the package you choose could offer up to 30GB of cloud storage, or even unlimited storage. Other great cloud storage options include Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
There Are Other Viruses Besides COVID-19.
Security of data and equipment is a common concern for those engaging in remote work. It is vital to ensure that devices are adequately protected, especially if the entire business relies on only one or two machines, due to the threat posed by malicious software and viruses that can be spread through infected websites, emails and links. When considering cyber security, it is important to take the following into account:
Protect your company’s data by installing anti-virus software and encouraging your staff to maintain it up to date.
This list of 25 cybersecurity tools is a good resource for learning more.
- Considering the benefits of storing data in the cloud, it is certainly worth considering. Not only can you be sure that your data is safe and secure, you will also no longer need to worry about using a specific device for storage. This is thanks to the two-factor authentication that is available. Although passwords can often be effective, they can be easily cracked by experienced hackers. By enabling two-factor authentication, you can benefit from an additional layer of protection in the cloud. This requires a password as well as providing additional information such as the date of your parents’ marriage.
- It is important to ensure the security of your organisation’s data by encouraging your staff to create robust passwords. To protect your data from cyber criminals, it is a good idea to consider investing in a password manager. This will help keep your credentials secure at all times.
Here are a few examples of password managers:
We have had no problems with 1Password and it has been successful in securely storing all of our passwords in a digital vault. Nevertheless, it is also recommended that we use supplementary tools like Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.
- It is recommended that organizations include policies that encourage the use of secure Wi-Fi connections. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are a significant risk for the spread of malicious viruses, particularly in situations where one is desperate to gain access to the internet. Such policies can help protect staff, clients and other stakeholders from the damaging effects of such threats.
Just because you have the resources available does not mean that you are prepared to use them.
It may take some time and perseverance to become familiar with all the new features. Although the majority of them are straightforward to use, the fact that they are new to us can make them seem more complicated than they actually are.
Once you have successfully acquired the necessary skills and knowledge (which should not take long), it is essential that you plan and organize the appropriate training for your staff. Provide them with the necessary resources and explain the delivery structure for their tasks, as though they were new recruits. Although they may not be familiar with the job initially, with enough practice and perseverance, they will eventually become proficient.
If you are still unsure about the best way to recruit and induct remote workers, do not worry; below are seven suggestions that may prove useful. From the importance of providing clear guidance and communication channels, to the implementation of relevant training and assessment methods, these tips aim to help ensure a smooth onboarding process for employees operating from a distance.
Methods of Efficient Distant Administration
Time-Zones: It is assumed that all members of your team are located in the same area, meaning this should not be a problem. However, if John is unable to return from his trip to Thailand due to the current travel restrictions, it is essential to agree on a common time zone in order to maintain communication and attend meetings simultaneously.
Feedback: In order to develop and grow, we must be open to constructive criticism as much as we need to be motivated to keep striving. Both giving and receiving feedback are essential for each member of a virtual team to reach their full potential.
Establish electronic water coolers: It is essential to ensure that your staff are having fun in the workplace. Demonstrating an interest in them, whether through casual conversations about their families or weekend plans, or through more formal brainstorming sessions, can help to create an atmosphere of enthusiasm, which will encourage them to come to work each day.
Routine team gatherings: In order to see whether anybody needs assistance with anything, or if the projects are moving along as planned.
Affirm your faith in your staff: It is important to recognize that it is not possible to maintain control over every aspect of a situation. Instead, it is important to trust that those in your employ are capable of undertaking the tasks that have been allocated to them. Furthermore, it is essential to have confidence in the timelines and management tools that have been put in place.
Everyone acquires knowledge via experience and study. Companies now face a new difficulty with remote workers due to the coronavirus.
If you are looking to gain a better understanding of the world of remote working, we at Works are here to help. We have a blog and podcast which provide valuable insight into the topic, as well as an e-book which we have written on setting up and managing remote teams. This e-book is available to you free of charge, so please do not hesitate to make use of it.
Mercedes Rodriguez-Sanday, our Account Executive, is offering free consultations on remote working during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Take advantage of forty-five minutes of her time by clicking the link provided.