What to Do About Working from Home When You Have the Coronavirus

In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, have you and your team relocated to a safer place? How is your company managing remote work?

Ever since the Coronavirus outbreak surfaced in December 2023 in China, followed by the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it a pandemic in March 2023, the world has undergone significant transformations. Governments globally have enforced lockdowns to impede the transmission of COVID-19, forcing companies to reassess their approaches.

Presently, it is not unusual for remote workplaces to appear disquieting and reminiscent of a thriller movie. Nonetheless, for some organizations, the actual terrifying scenario is not the desolate ambience but the incapability to proficiently manage a remote team.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, a work from home system has been introduced at your company, and concerns are beginning to surface.

As telecommuting gains popularity, it is critical to manage employees efficiently and avoid hindering productivity. If your company is new to remote teams, there are a few essential points to consider for the success of remote working. Firstly, ensure that all staff are conversant with the technology needed for remote working. This entails guaranteeing that all personnel have access to relevant hardware and software, as well as proficient knowledge in their usage. Additionally, develop a communication strategy among employees and between employees and management. Creating regular check-ins or team calls can enhance the transition to telecommuting. Moreover, set up a mechanism to track and supervise performance since remote working can interfere with productivity evaluation. Defining clear objectives and goals can guarantee that staff strive for the same targets. Additionally, implementing a rewards and recognition system can inspire and maintain employee productivity. On the whole, transitioning to remote working can be challenging, but with a sound plan in place, it can be a profitable venture.

At Works, we are exceedingly knowledgeable in recruiting and placing remote employees, being a completely remote company ourselves. Hence, we offer extensive and detailed guidance on the resources and advice required to guarantee the triumph of your company’s work-from-home (WFH) program during the Coronavirus epidemic.

Is Your Team Ready to Conquer Work from Home? Let Your Actions Speak Louder than Words

Recent studies reveal that remote workers are more productive than their counterparts in physical workspaces. Even though some individuals have adequate resources to manage remote work, those beginning with remote work may view mobile phones as the sole purpose of work. Although it is doable, it takes more effort and time investment. Hence, having accessibility to suitable equipment to hold video conferences, accomplish tasks, and meet deadlines efficiently is necessary for you and your team.

Unfortunately, I do not possess the most current set of wireless headphones. This is not exactly what we had in plan.

When working remotely, reliable earbuds with a functional microphone are crucial. You don’t require the newest or most expensive earphones, as the world is presently changing, and it’s essential to prioritize the essentials. A computer, preferably portable, is all you require to commence working. As time passes, you may consider additional items, such as a comfortable chair, a second monitor, and a nice desk, as incentives for working from home during quarantine. If any workers have malfunctioning computers, the first step is to reach out to them and determine the resources required to restore functionality.

Shopify, on the other hand, offers each employee a £1,000 allowance to purchase whatever they deem essential, such as items for setting up a comfortable home office. Although spending the entire amount may not be compulsory, it is advisable to ensure access to necessary equipment for efficient telecommuting for all employees.

Devise a Communication Strategy

As a company owner or manager, the significance of having open channels of communication between workers is well-understood. For a remote team to thrive, high-quality communication is crucial. The flow of information among the various segments of an organization is equally crucial, analogous to how blood carries oxygen in the body. This signifies the critical role of effective communication in accomplishing assignments. Additionally, it is imperative to reflect on the time elapsed for building up a company’s culture and how well it is comprehended by all employees.

If you are the manager of a company that has not previously ventured into remote work, the first step is to guarantee that all employees have the essential equipment and resources for working from home. After accomplishing this, organizing a team meeting would be beneficial, preferably through a video call, to discuss the updated protocol. This is an excellent opportunity to provide direction and address any questions that the team may have.

The Coronavirus pandemic has instilled fear and anxiety worldwide. Hence, it is essential to establish the actual facts and clarify the situation to aid people in adapting to the change and comprehend the reasoning behind it. This approach aims to lessen panic and promote productive measures.

Undoubtedly, the attitude you hold towards a given situation reflects in your team’s demeanour. Hence, maintaining an optimistic outlook can positively affect your remote workforce’s performance. You should acknowledge that their morale is also likely to improve with your positive approach.

Every member of the company’s remote workforce must comprehend the communication protocols and business structure. The leader’s responsibility is to ensure clarity concerning the anticipated levels of communication and provide simple instructions on how to connect with colleagues. Implementing limitations, such as designating communication platforms for urgent issues or stipulating specific communication hours, may also be warranted. Clear communication is pivotal, and it is unwise to presume that each member can figure the protocols out alone without adequate guidance.

But how can we achieve this? I have collated several resources that might be beneficial to you.

Tools for Instant Communication

At Works, we highly recommend Slack for instant messaging. It offers file sharing options for photos, documents, movies, GIFs, memes, and more, and allows you to create channels on varied subjects like fuzzy animals, hobbies, etc. We have found Slack to be effective for concise communication, including reminders, requests, and brainstorming. Public channels can be used to disseminate company updates or send greetings to new colleagues, providing resources like videos and articles of general interest. Slack also facilitates informal team gatherings through a bot that can connect two team members on a video call every week, which associates with the concept of a digital water cooler.

Apart from Slack, there are numerous other communication tools available. We have tested and appreciated Bitrix 24, Google Chat Hangouts, Twist, Yammer, Azendoo, and various others.

Video Conferencing Techniques

Video conferencing is imperative for businesses with remote workforces. It fosters a sense of camaraderie and belongingness within the team, providing a means to connect and appreciate the organization’s values.

We recommend Zoom as our top pick for video conferencing due to its ability to record meetings, several complimentary features, and its compatibility with various add-ons and services. Zoom’s screen sharing feature is particularly useful for presentations and software demonstrations. Our team regularly uses Zoom to host project meetings and daily briefings, during which our members share their agendas and seek assistance if needed.

Online meetings can also be conducted using Skype, Google Hangouts, ConnectWise, and TeamViewer among other options.

Establish Essential Processes for Remote Work

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may need to re-evaluate our existing roles and missions based on the organization’s modified communication plan. To facilitate this, the management team should convene to discuss COVID-19’s potential impact on the company. Once work-from-home procedures have been established, it is critical to establish specific goals, create comprehensive plans, and ensure that our employees are properly structured financially, aware of their responsibilities, and equipped with the required competencies to perform their duties.

Now that you have defined your approach, it’s time to implement it. Various remarkable project management tools are available to ensure that you stay on top of everything. As a manager of a remote team, it’s critical to ensure that everyone remains productive and aware of their duties. Even though the team is working from home, it is not recommended to choose your own deadlines. With these tools, you can set deadlines, assign jobs, and monitor progress without constantly supervising your team.

We recommend the following:

At [Your Company], we find Basecamp to be the most suitable project management tool. It provides all necessary features for small businesses, including the creation of to-do lists, deadlines, and file sharing. As a blogger, I find Basecamp to be an essential resource for organizing and scheduling new posts, specifying release dates, titles, content, research, studies, and statistics. Additionally, Basecamp allows us to assign to-do lists, allocating individual tasks to each team member, encouraging collaboration, and notifying others when one task is complete.

If you need a project management software solution, several excellent options are available. Asana, SharePoint, Dapulse, Quip, and Trello are all great choices. It’s essential to understand your company’s or project’s scale before selecting a management system. To aid your decision-making process, our blog provides a detailed description of the software programs we recommend. Please go through it to make an informed choice.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a secure and convenient way of storing critical documents and data while enabling easy sharing of vital resources among staff members. Cloud computing storage solutions are a vital resource for modern organizations with dispersed teams, allowing employees from different locations to access and share identical information.

Here are our suggestions:

G Suite is one of the top virtual workplaces options, offering seamless integration of business emails with other Google applications such as Calendar, Drive, and Hangouts, allowing for easy sending and receipt of messages and attachments. Depending on the package selected, G Suite also offers up to 30GB of cloud storage or unlimited storage. Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive are also excellent options for cloud storage.

COVID-19 is Not the Only Virus.

When working remotely, data and equipment security is a significant concern. It’s critical to protect devices properly, especially if the entire business depends on only one or two machines, due to the potential danger of spreading malicious software and viruses through infected websites, emails, and links. When considering cybersecurity, it’s important to consider the following:

Install anti-virus software and encourage your staff to keep it up-to-date to safeguard your company’s data.

This list of 25 tools for cybersecurity is an excellent resource to learn more.

  1. Due to the advantages of cloud data storage, it’s worth considering as you’ll have the assurance that your data is secure and protected, and also not bound to a specific device. Two-factor authentication is available, making it even more secure. Although passwords may be effective, they can be easily cracked by hackers. Enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection in the cloud. It requires a password and additional information, such as the date of your parents’ marriage.
  2. Ensuring the security of your organization’s data is crucial by encouraging staff to create strong passwords. It’s a good idea to invest in a password manager to protect your data from cybercriminals, ensuring that your credentials are always secure.

Here are some examples of password managers:

1Password has been successful in securely storing all of our passwords in a digital vault, and we have experienced no issues. However, it’s also recommended that we use additional tools such as Dashlane, KeePass, and LastPass.

  1. Organizations are advised to create policies that promote 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 needs urgent internet access. Such policies can help protect staff, clients, and other stakeholders from the harmful effects of these threats.

Having available resources does not necessarily mean that you are ready to utilize them.

It may require some time and determination to become acquainted with all the new features. Although most are easy to navigate, their newness to us may make them seem more complex than they really are.

Once you have successfully gained the required skills and knowledge (which shouldn’t take long), it’s crucial to plan and organize appropriate training for your staff. Provide them with the necessary resources and explain the delivery structure for their tasks, as if they were new hires. Although they may be unfamiliar with the job initially, with enough practice and determination, they will eventually become skilled.

If you’re uncertain about the most effective way to hire and orient remote employees, don’t worry; here are seven tips that may be helpful. These suggestions range from the significance of providing clear guidance and communication channels to the implementation of appropriate training and assessment techniques. The aim of these tips is to help ensure a seamless onboarding process for employees operating remotely.

Efficient Methods for Remote Management

Time Zones: It’s assumed that all members of your team are situated in the same location, so this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if John can’t come back from his trip to Thailand due to travel restrictions, it’s important to agree on a shared time zone to ensure continuous communication and simultaneous attendance of meetings.

Feedback: To develop and advance, it’s crucial to be receptive to constructive criticism as well as motivated to keep pushing forward. Both providing and receiving feedback are essential for every member of a remote team to achieve their maximum potential.

Set up virtual water coolers: It’s important to guarantee that your team enjoys their work environment. Showing interest in them, be it through informal chats about their families or weekend activities or through more structured brainstorming sessions, can foster an atmosphere of excitement that motivates them to show up each day.

Regular team meetings: These gatherings allow for checking if anyone needs assistance with anything or if the projects are progressing as intended.

Show confidence in your staff: It’s crucial to understand that it isn’t feasible to have complete control over every aspect of a situation. Rather, it’s important to have faith that those you employ are capable of completing the tasks assigned to them. Additionally, it’s crucial to have confidence in the timelines and management tools in place.

Keep in mind that…

Everyone gains knowledge through both experience and study. Companies are now encountering a new challenge with remote workers as a result of the coronavirus.

If you’re seeking to enhance your understanding of remote working, we at Works are available to assist you. We offer a blog and podcast that provide valuable insights into the topic, as well as a free e-book that we’ve authored on establishing and managing remote teams. So, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of it.

Mercedes Rodriguez-Sanday, our Account Executive, is providing complimentary consultations on remote working during the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. Click the link provided to take advantage of forty-five minutes of her time.

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