Working remotely is a concept that has been around for a while. Often offered as a perk, it has not been the norm for most companies. However, COVID-19 has changed the landscape of day-to-day life as companies around the world require large portions of their staff to work from home. If you are a newbie to existing in or managing a work-from-home workforce, looking to the experts can smooth the transition.
Some Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific employees have worked remotely for years; it’s the way we support our communities with good, local representation across a vast region of seven states. It’s worked well for our company, and we’ve learned a lot in the process. But now the coronavirus has forced us, as it has many employers, a new work-from-home environment for those typically accustomed to an office environment.
BBB NW+P Human Resources Director Barbara Flynn works directly with our department managers and speaks publicly about the issues faced in this environment.
Here are some of her top suggestions:
STAY IN CONTACT
- Communicate, collaborate and cooperate – this is essential at any time but particularly during a period like this when employees don’t have face-to-face contact.
- Utilize all technology at your disposal to remain in contact with your team members. There are many options to choose from, including instant messaging, video chat and conference, texting, email and phone calls all help to make the team feel closer.
- Incorporate positive and light-hearted communications into your interactions with team members. It shouldn’t all just be work-related communication. Work intentionally to maintain the relationships you have fostered in the traditional office setting.
- Allow flexibility within the workday. With some schools out, employees may be juggling working from home and caring for children. They may not be able to work an entire shift straight through, so consider permitting the option to break work up into two- or four-hour periods to allow time for personal priorities. Instruct employees to complete timecards according to this new flexible arrangement to ensure compliance with wage and hour laws.
- Allow more grace to employees as they navigate through this new working arrangement. It’s not necessarily a matter of being more lenient but more understanding in interactions with your staff. Challenge your teams to be solution-based during this time.
- Since not everyone has a home office, provide suggestions to your employees on areas they can set up in to create a working space for themselves. Do they have a room in their home that gives more isolation in case they need privacy from noises and distractions?
- Encourage team members to utilize self-management and time-management skills when transitioning to this work arrangement.
- Promote employee assistance program (EAP) services to staff if they need additional support during this transition
What are the ways you’re navigating through a telecommuting workforce? Tell us below in the comments!