Driven by Coronavirus (COVID-19), the dynamics of doing business are shifting at hyperspeed and it’s forcing companies around the world to rethink how they get work done. For many, this includes a quick pivot to remote work—a strategy that can help keep businesses on track regardless of what’s happening on the ground.
Even if your company has already ditched the 9-to-5, it may not be ready to go fully remote. Many companies are beginning to face this challenge as Coronavirus escalates around the world:
From strategic insights to day-to-day tips, here’s an overview to help your team adapt to remote work as quickly as possible.
Adopting a remote-first perspective means looking at every aspect of your business with the assumption that anyone may be remote at any time—whether it’s an employee caring for a family member or an independent professional whose skills are leveraged on an interim basis. In today’s environment, you don’t have the luxury of anything less.
Some types of work are better suited for distributed teams than others. As you craft a strategy, consider exceptions and guidance that can be provided in such situations. For example, you may need to:
Remote work may mean a shift in how you measure performance. In an office, it’s easy to conflate time spent at work with results. However, when teams are distributed, value is largely driven by performance vs. face time.
A Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) puts the focus on what someone does, not how/when/where they do it. This empowers workers to get things done on their own terms, but it also encourages accountability: failure to deliver puts their value to the organization into question.
Workers need access to information in order to get things done and maintain workflows. But how do you protect your organization’s data when you have a tight timeline to get a solution in place?
First, remember that all data isn’t equal: Prioritize what’s needed now. Then rank the information by security level. It will typically fall within one of five categories: sensitive, confidential, private, proprietary, or public.
Once you’ve mapped out your data requirements, the systems that are already in place, and any critical data, consider security measures that can be implemented quickly—such as a virtual private network (VPN)—as well as longer term.
From a practical point of view, your employees may not be equipped to effectively work from home. Here are a few questions to consider:
Do employees who need a computer have access to one? There are several different ways to set workers up but for a more immediate solution, consider these ideas:
Do employees have a place to work? Workers may not have access to an ideal workspace outside of the office—particularly if they’re frequently in meetings or on the phone. Encourage managers to find creative solutions for their teams, such as flexible work schedules, alternate workspaces, or adjusted priorities for the quarter.
Effective collaboration for a team that’s spread across multiple locations hinges on good communication. As an immediate solution:
Choose tools that are easy-to-access and reliable with a minimal learning curve. For the short term, platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, are widely used. For the longer term, using one full-featured platform across your organization, such as Slack or G Suite, might be a better option.
And encourage teams to avoid putting things off until they’re “back in the office.” Timelines are unpredictable so adapting to new circumstances, whatever they are, is essential to meet objectives.
When team dynamics are forced to adjust on the fly, mistakes are inevitable. Be patient with yourself and your team. In order to succeed, distributed teams need trust: Trust that each person knows how to do the work, that they’re accountable to each other, and that they’re doing their best in uncertain circumstances. Consider these tips to help support your team as you all move forward:
Working from home has its benefits, but it isn’t all smooth sailing and people often struggle with the transition. Consider these ideas to help you get started.
Make an effort to get ready for the day as you would if you were to go into the office. It’s important to continue the face-to-face interaction as it can help increase productivity, so be prepared to utilize Google Hangouts for any meetings you may have. Circle around an agenda prior to the meeting so your team is prepared and ready to discuss the meeting topics. It’s important for the meeting leaders to guide these calls more carefully than they would an in person meeting. Be sure to pause for any questions somewhat frequently. During “roll call” type questions, call out on each employee in an effort to not talk over one another and avoid awkward pauses. We get that there may be some noise distractions while working remotely - a barking dog, roommates blasting music, building construction, etc - be sure to mute yourself while you are not talking in an effort to not take away from the conversation.
More ideas from Upwork:
Change in the midst of a crisis is never easy—especially one like Coronavirus, which hits as hard at global markets as it does at life around our kitchen tables. But you can use strategies to respond effectively and continue to deliver against your business goals.
Great article, Lena!
We're working on this same problem from the perspective of rapidly providing Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) to thousands of new WFH users. Using DaaS means that remote workers get a secure computing environment in the cloud that they can access from any device. By taking this route, organizations aren't opening themselves up to the security vulnerabilities associated with rapidly implenting solutions like BYOD and VPN. We're standing by to assist in any way possible.
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