To save the planet from the current epidemic of the coronavirus, businesses worldwide have decided to start adopting a remote work policy for their employees. It is a way to keep the business safe, to keep the employees healthy and of course, to help the company continue its course and operations.
By working remotely, employees have the chance to continue completing their tasks. Most of the businesses nowadays have an online presence and, especially those that only offer services will be able to continue working through these difficult times. However, a lot of company employees do not have any experience in remote work.
If this is the very first time your company has had to work on a remote level then, you and your employees will need to adjust to certain policies that could prove to be quite difficult in the very beginning. However, in this article, we will try to attempt to give you a few simple yet important tips that you will need to follow when it comes to working remotely for a business. These tips will be separated between business and employees. Let’s start with the business.
Strategies and policies for remote work
A lot of businesses out there do not have a strategy or policies that will cover the important issues of the business in case of an emergency like for example an emergency remote work protocol. As the business owner, you and your board of directors or the managers of each department will need to make sure that you will come up with a specific protocol, strategies, and policies on which the entire concept of remote work for your business will be based.
Your employees will be able to use that protocol to start setting up their tasks and the way they will work. At the same time, that protocol might change a few times during the implementation phase. It will act as a compass in case of an emergency in the future.
Specify specific timelines and deadlines
All employees will need to work on a specific schedule created for remote work. However, it cannot be expected from the employees to create the schedule. The managers will need to do it. It is important that the timelines and deadlines will be realistic and will allow employees to work in a calm and friendly way.
A lot of businesses make the mistake of shortening deadlines and timelines during remote work emergencies. Business owners believe that that way they will be able to cover any potential gap that might be created due to this emergency state. It is a great mistake of course. If anything, deadlines need to be extended as well as timelines. You need to give your employees time to get used to this new status quo.
Access to the company’s files
we know that a lot of companies do not wish to share their files through the Internet. It is reasonable to assume that you will want to protect the personal data of your company and your clients as well. However, in case of a remote work emergency, your employees will need to have remote access to everything for them to complete their tasks.
By placing boundaries on the information they can access on their own you’re just going to be extending the time they will need to complete their tasks. even if you do have a specific employee whose job will be to monitor what goes in and out of your company’s service, restricted access is going to be bad for your business. Allow your employees to work the way they used to.
Be there for your employees
we can understand that, during an emergency like the coronavirus outbreak, payments might be delayed. We can understand that the company will need to focus on solving important problems aiming at continuing the operations even after the emergency is over. However, you need to remember your employees have not changed.
Employees can understand delayed payments. They can understand the need of the company to organize and settle a few important tasks before they can fall back into normal daily work. However, you need to remember that your employees will need your support as well. The business needs to be open to changes, the managers need to be ready to communicate and collaborate with their teams and most importantly, employees need to be motivated. Make sure that the company, one way or another will continue to motivate the employees to work aiming at going through this difficult time.
These are the four most important tips for every business owner and every company out there. However, the company is just one half of a whole. The employees play an equally important role and there are a few tips that you as an employee will need to follow when it comes to working remotely for a business.
Focus on your tasks and prioritize
always remember that in case of emergency tasks and priorities will change. Yes, we know that you have current tasks that need to be completed and if new tasks appear out of nowhere it will be quite an inconvenience for you. However, you will need to remember the company needs you and you will need to adjust to the new status quo.
You need to go through your tasks again and reprioritize everything. Focus on completing tasks that have a long-term impact. Focus on completing tasks that will most likely affect the company if not completed in time. If you believe that there is something more to do, something that might help the company make sure that you will discuss it with your manager and add a task for it. At the end of the day, you are the employee, there is no one out there that knows your work better than you. Make sure your results will have an important impact on the company.
Always meet your deadlines
a lot of employees use the remote work excuse as a way for them not to meet the deadlines. They claim that the restricted access they have to the company’s files or the different working environment is affecting their way of work. They ask for more times for the deadlines and yes, it is reasonable to assume that in the beginning, something like that might be necessary.
However, you want to be a good employee and if you want to complete your tasks in a good and effective manner you will need to meet all of your deadlines. According to studies, it only takes a couple of days for an employee to get used to working in a new environment. And that is when that employee is working on a different environment they’ve never been in before.
When you are working remotely, in most cases you’re working from home. Your home is a safe environment meaning that it will be a lot easier for you to adjust to it. Do not use remote work as an excuse to work slower. Maintain your previous speed no matter what.
Adjust your environment
During these difficult times, we are all forced or better to get encouraged to stay inside. It is important for us not to spread the coronavirus and to make sure that we will stop the chain. However, staying inside means that we are most likely going to be surrounded by people.
If you live with your family then during your working hours you will need to accept the fact that your family will be there. If you’re working for 8 to 9 hours a day you cannot possibly hope that they will stay quiet. You will want to make sure that you will establish some ground rules and fix your environment as much as possible.
If there is a specific room in the house where you can “lock yourself in” during working hours you are recommended to do so. If you have small children who will want to play with you while you are the house we suggest you getting dressed and acting like you are leaving for work. It will be easier for them to accept that you’re not in the house like they always do and easier for you to work.
Ask your family to be a bit quieter. They will not be completely silenced of course but they will be much more careful before making any noises. Since you need concentration, figure out a way to get it.
Ask for help when help is needed
If you’re not used to remote work then yes the beginning will be difficult. You will need to communicate with your co-workers, you will need to settle simple tasks that only required a conversation that lasted a few minutes. Now you have to either write everything down or arrange video conferences. A rather bug inconvenience.
If you feel like you need help to complete your tasks or that you are not able to work with the current protocol, you need to voice that concern. Your manager will need to help you find an alternative.
Help could be needed for a lot of things. Perhaps you believe that some of your co-workers are using remote work to “slack off”, making your work a lot more difficult. Perhaps it is not that easy to work with a specific co-worker through digital channels because they are not willing to cooperate.
Whichever the case, you will need help solving the problem and you need to voice that need.
These 8 tips will prove to be a lifesaver for your business. As you start implementing the new remote work protocol, you will probably notice more difficulties and more “tips” that you will need to follow. Remember that as a business owner this could a great step in fortifying your company against future risks and threats.
As an employee, this bad situation could have a positive effect on you. You are now going to learn how to work remotely. Remote work is a concept that is growing more and more popular among businesses nowadays. In a few years, it will be the regular way of working and you will already have the experience needed to do it.
In this difficult time, we all need to try and make things a little better. Remember that you need to stay in and help break the chain of transmission. You can still work just like you used to, ensuring your job and your monthly payments by learning how to properly do remote work!