Even while the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, opportunities abound that favor the creation of new businesses. However, these new businesses must learn to adjust accordingly to help mitigate the spread of the Corona Virus. That is why working from home has become a necessity. Existing businesses will have to restructure and create new policies to promote remote working. However, the process should be easier for those who are just starting out.
Thus, this article discusses the basic ideas that will help your business become as profitable as possible during and after the pandemic. Work-from-home teams are the way of the future.
1. Remodel the Workplace Dynamics
Communication and team management are much easier in an office setting. Face-to-face interaction allows little chance for information misinterpretation. As a leader, you can easily observe your employees and read their body language, encourage those that seem to be unmotivated, and even call an emergency meeting whenever necessary.
However, the situation is quite different for remote teams. Interaction is much trickier when it has to be done online. Your ability to read the room becomes muddled.
Therefore, you need to establish an effective paradigm to ensure that everybody on your team remains informed, motivated, and productive. Here’s how:
• Set a Schedule: In-office work requires that everyone show up at their posts at a specific time, take a break at a specific time, and go home at a specific time. This should also apply to your remote team. Since distractions abound at home, it is often easy to become unproductive if you fail to follow a strict schedule for the workday.
• Provide a Handbook: Everything that your employees need to know in order to work efficiently should be written down. Provide answers to frequently asked questions so that teammates can easily refer to the guide whenever they need to. This will let them know what is expected of them, enabling them to carry out their duties while working from home. No rule should be left unwritten. So, don’t forget to include performance metrics.
• Ensure Continuous Communication: Since workplace interactions have taken a different form, i.e. physical interaction has been replaced with phone calls, instant messaging, and emails, it is important to maintain a line of communication where colleagues can get prompt replies to settle urgent concerns.
• Set Clear Expectations: Every employee must know what’s expected of them—from deadlines to work hours, and anything related to their work. This is important in ensuring that everybody is working collectively towards achieving the company’s goals. If anyone fails to perform their duties due to a lack of effective monitoring, the company’s objectives will be forfeit.
• Be Flexible with Meeting Times: If your employees are in different time zones, you have to consider every person on the team when scheduling meetings. It is important to record what was discussed during the meeting. Doing so will ensure that those who were absent won’t be left in the dark.
2. Allow Employee Inclusion
Inclusion means giving your employees a voice. Everyone has a chance to contribute to the success of the team. When you allow your team to bring their ideas to the table, the company’s performance not only improves markedly, but the individual’s confidence and innovativeness also improve.
Employ the Essential Remote-Working Tools:
Virtual communication and collaboration tools are requisites for running a work-from-home business. Some are available in free and premium versions and can function on both desktop and mobile devices. When making a choice, go for those that provide multiple features, adequate security, and can accommodate the size of your team.
Here are some of the basic tools:
Chat apps help your team stay connected. There are many that are quite popular among small and medium businesses. Take Slack as an example. Different teams can create their own channels and discuss projects. It also enables file sharing and video conferencing.
Although there are many instant messaging apps that have a video call feature, you may want to adopt an app that is built specifically for the purpose. Zoom Meetings is a good example.
File sharing tools, such as Google Drive and DropBox, are essential.
3. Track Employee Productivity
During the workday, how do you make sure your teammates follow their work schedule? How do you ensure that they are not overwhelmed by too many distractions or just taking too much downtime when they are supposed to be busy?
Monitoring employee productivity is essential if your business is to survive. Luckily, there are apps, such as Traqq, that can help you set a schedule for your employees, assign projects and observe progress, identify the least productive and most productive members of your team, and even allow you to take automated desktop screenshots in the background so that you can supervise what each person is working on. Time tracking apps help put the workday in focus, thus, ensuring that employees are putting maximum effort during work hours and taking a break at the appropriate time.
4. Prioritize Social Interaction
Although the team won’t be meeting face to face, you still need to find a way to maintain a good level of social interaction. It helps to boost morale, keep performance levels high, and promote camaraderie. Regular video calls on Zoom will be a good way to go. You get to see each other’s faces and engage in salon chatter.
Furthermore, each person on the team should be encouraged to get out of the house once in a while and breathe some fresh air, especially those that live alone.
Working from home is not always a tray of cakes. Even the most introverted among us can get lonely and claustrophobic after spending too much time indoors. It might be all alright for those that have a family since they have someone to interact with. But for those that don’t get too many visits from friends or neighbors due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is very important to go for a walk once in a while. We would have suggested making a lunch or dinner date but we suppose that is out of the question now due to the situation. Safety comes first.
Remote work can be very rewarding for your business as long as you recognize the pros and cons. Not only does it allow you to recruit talent from all around the world, but it also helps in cutting down costs.
Building a remote team requires finding ways to promote interaction and effective collaboration. You can always adjust if you notice that the tools or techniques you’ve adopted for managing your team are not yielding the best results.
Communication is important. Ask questions. Recognize challenges that affect both the team and the individual. Not even one person should be left behind. The profitability of your business depends on each and every person performing their duties as efficiently as possible. To quote a cliché, ‘You are only as strong as your weakest link.’
Level up every day