Working Remotely During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Will Remote Work Actually Change Work Norms Forever?

There’s a lot of talk coming from experts arguing that although the mandatory remote work schemes are only temporary, they’re likely to stick around long after the pandemic dies down. Drawing from historical experiences from worldwide crises such as the Spanish Flu, the 1973 Oil Crisis, and the recent Great Recession, the coronavirus pandemic will also bring about long-last changes. Companies around the world had to come up with remote work schemes overnight and determine what operations can still be serviced from their employees’ homes.

Many who once thought of doing business online as only an option, now accept it as the most practical avenue to continue operations as the coronavirus pandemic forces governments to rollout quarantine and lockdown measures, and the temporary closure of non-essential businesses. But will this last long after the pandemic dies and life returns to normal? Will remote work be more popular than it once was? We’ll know the answer soon enough but most likely our world and work cultures will never be the same as before. In that case, it’s better to think ahead and come up with a sustainable remote work strategy for your employees.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many companies to implement remote work policies. And while remote work has been gaining popularity in the tech industry, not all companies were ready for such a change meaning that most of them are now facing a new challenge of working remotely.

No matter if your company has done it before, working remotely during conditions like these feels rather unusual, as none of us are quite sure how long all of this will last, plus the whole in-person socializing aspect is pretty much gone, for the time being at least.

That’s why we’ve prepared these tips that will help you and your employees stay thrive and be more successful while working remotely.

Clearly Define Your Company’s Working Hours

While most of the time remote work includes a bit of flexibility, you should be clear about when both you and your employees are working and when you are not. By setting working hours, you minimize the risk of overworking your employees. Working hours can also help you and your employees’ transition back to the office more easily once everything gets back to normal.

Always Communicate

Since this is most likely your company’s first time working from home, there is a chance you’ll run into some problems while transitioning to remote work. To make sure you minimize those problems, you need to communicate, especially with your employees and management. Figure out some rules of communication – when are you going to be available, what’s the best way to reach you, how frequently should employees check-in with their managers. These rules are likely to change as you adjust to remote work. Encourage your employees to communicate often and share everything that’s important to them.

Don’t Forget to Track Time

To ensure your employees are doing the work you’re paying them to do, you need time tracking. Time tracking can also help your employees be transparent, accountable and visible, while at the same time introduce a much-needed structure for remote teams.

As far as the best time tracking software is concerned, there are a lot of options out currently available on the market. The best option for anyone would be a software offering all of the features which align with their company’s goals, but that is also affordable so it doesn’t drain their budget.   

Keep Track of Progress on All Projects

Try to encourage your remote employees to be more proactive now that they are working from home. By keeping track of all of your projects and their progress, you ensure that no tasks are done multiple times. Plus, your employees will feel less stressed when they know that someone is keeping track of their work.  

Nurture Your Company’s Culture

Even though working remotely changes the way your entire company interacts, you can still do those little fun activities you did while you were still in your offices. Encourage people to send GIFs, have fun through online games, volunteer together online if you can. By doing these little things, you are helping your employees feel less isolated and lonely.

Encourage Socialization 

When the entire company all of a sudden starts working remotely, the usual office banter and chit-chats also stop. By encouraging social interactions among your employees, you’ll help them feel less lonely plus you’ll be able to ease out the usual monotony of work that is bound to happen.

To combat this, encourage your employees to chat about non-work related stuff throughout the day. You could also set aside some time out of the day to let employees catch-up one-on-one or you could schedule morning video chats with all of your employees to try to mimic those I-just-go-to-work conversations.

Ask Your Employees for Feedback

Since this is most likely the first time your company is going remote and everything is new for you, problems are likely to happen. Because of this, you should ask your employees regularly for feedback about how remote work is panning out for them. Asking for feedback can either be in a structured survey-like format or a simple instant messaging chat or video call.

Final Takeaways

While remote work is definitely a challenge for most companies, especially at hard times like these, there are still things to do to help your employees thrive and be more productive. Clearly define your company’s working hours, track time and keep progress on all of your projects, communicate with your team on a regular basis, encourage them to socialize, nurture your company’s culture and don’t forget to ask your employees for feedback. 

If you follow all these tips, you can be sure that your employees will enjoy remote work.

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