Many of us have found ourselves going from working in an office environment to working from home and adjusting to an “online office”. If your office has shifted from hands-on to video conferencing and emails, you are actually joining many who have discovered the power of remote work prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is often found that productivity has increased when using a remote workforce, and adjusting to becoming a “work from home” company can be fairly simple when using the right tools and knowing what you will need to do a bit differently.
The following are some things that you must do to set up your business for easier transitions and increase the effectiveness of your workers who are adjusting to their home offices as well.
Create Open Lines of Communication
Likely when you are in a shared office environment, communication can be easy: push a button and chat, or get up and walk to your co-worker’s space. When working remotely, however, you must have a way of replacing that instant communication.
Create a communication channel tree that explains how communication should be made and what is urgent or not so that urgent matters aren’t buried in non-urgent emails or chats. Be sure this primary line of communication is easy for your employees to use and that they are linked to one another along with you and any project managers.
Use the Cloud
Many office environments still work with traditional filing methods and are mainly run using files that are offline, shared person to person. If you're running your office offline and are aware you and your staff will have to work remotely, it is wise to get your most important files online and easy to share from home office to home office.
There are several formats for this including Google Drive and Dropbox. Online platforms also exist to support project management such as Monday.com and Trello. Research and talk to your IT department or company to see what will be the best platform to use, even if it is only for emergencies.
You may find that you need several formats or you may only need one or two. Whatever the case, be sure they are user-friendly and your employees can easily be trained to understand how to access and share files when necessary.
Having employees work from home can increase productivity, however, when used to an office environment, it may be hard for your employees to make the adjustment and keep on track. Find a time tracking app to keep tabs on how much time employees spend on their computers working from home.
Logging of hours can keep employees on task and projects on track. Also consider implementing a bonus system to reward employees who show a rise in productivity, such as finishing a project in fewer hours than when working in their typical office environment.
Be sure to communicate expectations around work schedules such as start and end times, breaks, lunches, as these can fall to the wayside as employees adjust to the new freedom and/or boredom they feel by being at home.
Encourage Appropriate Socialization
This may seem unimportant, but in any office environment, small talk occurs and can keep the job from getting mundane. Find a social app such as Slack that will allow your employees to do a little socializing. For many workers, a majority of our socializing occurs in the workplace, so this can help to maintain their sense of belonging.
Encourage this social thread by interacting as well. Start a conversation by sharing a playlist you are working to, sharing some new yoga positions or other ways to stay in shape and stay in place, or maybe a recent “feel good” news article you’ve come across. Your employees should be encouraged to join in on these social threads. As with any workplace conversations, online threads should be kept in good taste and upbeat. Discouraging or distasteful remarks should be dealt with immediately.
Learning to go from a traditional office environment to an online office and changing your ways of communicating and sharing information is a learning experience for all involved, and there are many more transformations you will encounter along the way. Make these transformations as smooth as possible for your workforce and you may be surprised at the results. The power of remote workers just may work for you.
Looking for your best and brightest team members? Let CNS (Colorado Network Staffing) help you with recruiting and obtaining talent in this competitive market. As a sole human resource provider for our clients, we save you time, energy, and money by providing experience, resources, and top-level management for your staffing needs. Contact us today at 303-430-1441.