This article gives you more details about recent culture of Work From Home and how to develop remotely working team, how to set expectations and how to continue your business with remotely working team.
The world is gripped by the coronavirus pandemic and we are in the midst of unprecedented times. First and foremost, please stay safe. Let us all work together in supporting the Government’s lockdown orders and leave no stone unturned in helping government combat this virus and make this world safe again.
In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, most of the governments across the world is announcing complete lockdown. Companies are directed to consider Work-from-Home options as a measure of prevention or shut down their operations. This move is adopted to prevent the spread and contain COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies around the globe have rolled out mandatory remote work policies amid the spread of Covid-19 and it’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us.
It’s critical that companies have a comprehensive business-continuity plan to ensure their products and services remain available, secure, and reliable for their customers and employees. The health and safety of their employees is top priority, and many companies are closely and continually monitoring guidance provided by governments and health organizations related to the coronavirus so they can make informed decisions.
Considering a shift in work culture has its own set of challenges in terms of Employee Communication, Productive and cyber security. Some employees will be working from home for the first time, which means figuring out how to stay on task in a new environment that may not lend itself to productivity. But there are ways to deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy.
In order to be productive, there are common requirements that all remote workers need.
A good internet connection
Chat and conferencing applications
A dedicated workspace (preferred)
Optionally, a phone
Self-motivation and discipline
A strict routine
This article gives ideas and brief details for creating effectively working Remote Team.
1. Educate Employees
Companies take security too casually and assume that employees are aware of the do’s & don’t, but the fact is many are not fully knowledgeable in regards to security.
Training employees on security measures like how to configure a safe home network, treat suspicious emails and links, and what a secure password looks like can help keep your organisation sensitive information secure.
It’s also important that employees understand work-owned computers are not family computers; it is for office use only.
Use tools such as #GoogleHangout, #Teamviewer to conduct trainings and help the employees configure their home network.
2. Be Wary of Wi-Fi
Using public wireless networks can be risky. Knowing that employees are likely to logon from public hotspots, companies should set up a system to provide remote workers with secure access through virtual private network (VPN) software, which encrypts remote workers' internet traffic and monitors signs of infection.
3. Develop a new routine
Working from home requires changing your routine. Making sure you’re cyber secure is part of that.
But it also involves structuring your day to work efficiently and maintain contact with your team. If you’re used to starting the day by greeting your coworkers, you might consider continuing to do that by email or on a chat platform.
Why it’s important: It’s easy to lose focus or feel isolated when working from home. Take steps to avoid letting that happen. Reach out and stay engaged with your colleagues. The coronavirus may have changed your work life, but you still have a job to do.
4. Crank up the communication
Coronavirus or not, the key to working from home is clear communication with your boss – and knowing exactly what’s expected of you. “Have really clear-set expectations for communications day to day,”
5. Keep on top of your cybersecurity
Although you’re no longer connected to your company’s IT resources (probably using a VPN), you should still keep an eye on your cyber-defenses. While working from home, be sure to maintain the same cybersecurity hygiene as you do at the office – don’t click on a suspicious link, don’t open attachments unless they’re from trusted sources, always ask your managers to confirm financial-related requests (i.e. transferring money to a third-party), refrain from accessing potentially malicious websites, and that’s about it.
Remote working is not the same as working in an office environment. Establish clear guidelines of how quickly a remote worker is expected to respond to a request depending on the communication type, email, Slack, calendar invites, etc.
Line managers need to implement procedures that allow them to ascertain whether the remote workers are getting the job done: mandatory group meetings, team collaboration, daily/weekly/monthly reports.
Beyond technology, Cybersecurity and functional processes, there are other key factors to effective remote working:
Creating the right environment for those who may be first-time remote workers is extremely important for the employees’ welfare and company productivity. I suggest having a strategy and I recommend you consider:
Expect people to be ready for work; showering and getting dressed helps people understand they are going to start work.
Where possible, encourage people to create an ad-hoc office space; try to sit at a table or desk in a regular chair. This also creates an environment where others in the house will respect that you’re working. Lounging on the sofa is for Netflix.
The normal working day schedule should be maintained where possible; if work normally starts between 8-10 AM and lunch is somewhere between 12-2 PM, then try to maintain this schedule. Routines are good.
Agree on a single communication platform outside of the normal email system … a platform that is less formal and provides a more casual communication style … for example, Slack, Zoom, Skype or one of the many other communications or chat platforms that are available.
Start the day with a team check-in, and take 15 minutes to communicate today’s agenda with the team to ensure they have the necessary information and resources to achieve the expected results. This also has the benefit of giving everyone a schedule of when to start their day.
Keep the communication flowing over the agreed platform, watch for colleagues not participating and reach out to them.
Don’t micromanage, focus on the bigger picture of the end result, and avoid babysitting or being overbearing. As people adapt to the new working arrangement, productivity may suffer – but with the right leadership and guidance, the reality is that productivity will most likely increase due to fewer distractions.
If you have some staff who are experienced remote workers, use their knowledge as mentors for those who find the environment challenging.
Create optional virtual team lunches so that the social interaction discussions that happen in the office can continue as normal.
When the day’s goal is achieved, sound the bell, encourage people to down tools and spend time with family or friends, or get some exercise
It’s very doable, as long as you set some boundaries, fine-tune your pace, and keep a light head. As always, stay safe, wash your hands, don’t click on odd-looking links, boost your online protection, and stay indoors until the pandemic is over.