Remote Work During the Coronavirus
Posted by Svetlana Milovančev on 20 March 2020
Businesses around the world are introducing remote work during the coronavirus (COVID-19). Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Spotify are amongst the global companies that have rolled out the work from home policies. Are you wondering why these enterprises have done this and whether your company should follow suit?
Taking into account that the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus outbreak has reached a pandemic status, it’s highly possible to presume it may be just a matter of time for other companies to start relocating to “home offices”. Some employers are afraid their operations could suffer from this kind of work and are obsessing about potential problems at the moment. On the other hand, this work-from-home scenario will take a lot of employees into uncharted territory. Will their steady income be jeopardized in case they fail in this new work environment?
Rest assured there are ways to meet the deadlines and deliver results by creating a good workspace and teamwork. Let’s see what you need to do in order to stay efficient and productive.
Clear and regular communication is essential for making working from home successful regardless of it being done amidst a pandemic or not. Make sure everybody knows exactly what their duties and activities are. It’s a good idea to kick off a workday with a 10-minute call as most people are used to easy and fast communication with their boss when they are in the office. However, remote work might hinder this effortless flow of information and opinions.
Share all critical information within your organization. Anticipate and prepare a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on subjects such as how to use shared drives, how to collaborate on documents in real-time, etc. Provide all necessary documents and presentations to help remote workers stay up to date with the latest developments and data.
In addition to this, managers should be aware that even seasoned remote workers tend to feel isolated and lose focus. A study on remote work showed that loneliness and communication problems are among the main challenges. Although feeling lonely might sound strange to those who are accustomed to crowded open space offices and would love to work in peace and quiet sometimes, loneliness could easily make people feel less motivated and less productive. That’s why it’s important to organize regular communication with managers and coworkers. Emails, messages, but also face-to-face communication via video calls are vital for productivity.
Provide the Right Tools
In order to enable easy and smooth collaboration, a remote workforce needs access to all essential tools such as email, chat, video conferencing, and shared documents. Not only should they have access but they require the right permissions for this, as well. Therefore, managers are supposed to make sure managed devices have the right policies for Wi-Fi, virtual private network (VPN) access, Ethernet, and network certificates.
Some giants like Zoom, Google, Microsoft, and Slack are giving free access to certain more advanced products’ features during this crisis around the world. For example, Google has recently announced that they are offering Hangouts Meet features such as larger meetings, live streaming, and record meetings free of charge until 1 July 2020.
Dress Up for the Job
It’s great to be casual sometimes and even stay in your pajamas. Remote work is actually perfect for this. However, that doesn’t mean you should do it all the time. Try to behave the way you would in a regular job – take a shower, get dressed. This will create a sense of security and give a purpose to your upcoming duties.
If you don’t have a well-equipped home office, it can affect your productivity. However, a computer and a mobile should suffice for the beginning. What you can do to improve efficiency is to make sure you don’t spend the entire day in bed with your laptop. Place your computer on a desk and sit in an upright chair, just like you would in your office.
If you have family members or flatmates living with you, set some boundaries. For instance, when the door’s closed, they should know you’re not available for them. Create a cozy workspace for you regardless of how big or small your home is since you need a place where you can concentrate and think clearly.
Know When to End Your Workday
Not knowing how or when to end the workday poses a problem for a lot of remote workers. They are at home so there’s a very thin line between work and private life that becomes clearer when regular workers physically leave their offices thus signaling their brain the workday’s over. How to unplug after work? Shut down the computer, do some exercises or take a walk right after working hours. Otherwise, you may easily and quickly feel burned out.
Keep a Good Mood
We’re bombarded with negative news and worrying figures about the coronavirus around the globe. Find a way to fight the urge to read or listen to more news. Behave responsibly, protect yourself, your family and people around you, act in accordance with official recommendations and don’t panic. Focus on your work, communicate with your colleagues as this will help avoid feeling isolated and lonely, which can lead to a lack of motivation and even depression.
Managers should be mindful of their coworkers and organize regular face-to-face online interaction, especially with the ones living alone and thus possibly feeling more isolated. Meetings, check-ins or even virtual coffee breaks are all good ways to provide clear communication and at the same time, keep the spirits up.
It’s difficult to observe the world getting to grips with a growing pandemic. We should all do our best to avoid contracting and spreading the coronavirus. One of the ways to do this is remote work, so if your company introduces it, embrace these new working conditions with a positive attitude. After all, this is an opportunity for both employers and employees to get hands-on experience and see how efficient and less costly this type of work sometimes is.