The speed at which things have changed during the Coronavirus outbreak has been almost breath taking [no pun intended]. Each and everyone of us has been thrown into growing uncertainty, and as everyone scrambles to search for a semblance of normality, the issue of working from home has been put into the spotlight like never before. For some, it’s impossible, others quite easy. However, if you have never let your employees work from home before it can be a little daunting. To try and help, even if just a little, we are going to look at some of the benefits to remote working, and how not only can you keep your business ticking along, but also use the opportunity to come back from this even stronger.
Everyone will be in their Pyjamas
Well, yes, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean your employees won’t still be working. There are many benefits to having your employees work from home. Firstly, and it’s a biggie, is trust. Trust in your employees, your businesses’ systems and finally your own abilities. Of course, anything you do at first is going to be a leap of faith of sorts. Will your employees work as hard with different atmospherics, or even at all, will they just lay on the sofa watching Netflix drinking wine – see any of the millions of memes flying around. Trust comes in believing that these same individuals will continue to be good employees [as long as they were before!]. What should be embraced is the empowerment this will give your employees – allowing them to take greater ownership of their roles, improve how they work and possibly even see how procedures and other aspects can be streamlined once you are all back in work together.
It could provide an Aha! Moment
Another benefit that businesses owners should try to take from this awful situation is the unique opportunity it is providing them to have a long cold look at operations with the aim of perhaps identifying areas of strength and weakness. For example, we all know flexibility in business is essential, and we are now seeing very clearly which businesses and industries are more flexible than others. Enabling your employees to work remotely can provide a very real opportunity to audit your business, allowing you to check on the strengths and weaknesses of employees, as well as overall business structure, technology and of course your relationships with clients.
Mic check one two!
Thank whoever you wish for tech! Working from home is only possible thanks to the technology available to us. From phones and email to video conferencing and management apps, if you are working from home, chances are it’s only because you have access to the above. Past the basics of phone, internet access and a computer, there are several tools available that can make the transition to remote working not only painless, but can actually help improve performance and ensure your business continues to hit targets.
Management collaboration tools are nothing new, enabling individuals to stay connected and work collaboratively in real time. Tools such as Trello, Microsoft Teams and Slack allow you to see at a glance what is being worked on and by whom. Whilst there can be some small differences between the specific features of such tools, overall, they enable instant group messaging, video calling, real-time collaboration with systems such as Office, as well as personal/team data storage. Additional benefits include allowing you share communication channels with third parties such as clients and partners, thereby enabling all of you to be in the same ‘room’ and communicate freely in real time.
It’s good to talk
Regular, clear communication with your staff is going be essential during this period of uncertainty. In addition to assigning work and checking project status etc, you should also strive to keep employees updated as to what is happening in the business in general. Holding regular meetings, either as a group or individually, helps to remind employees that they are still valued and part of a wider team. This situation has been forced upon all of us, and as difficult as it may be, we should try to take some positives from it where possible.