The fallout from COVID-19 has changed the way work is done in a matter of months — in just the last six weeks, jobs postings for remote work positions have increased by over 800%. Companies the world over are being forced to shutter their offices and send workers home, but not all are prepared for exactly what happens next.
The transition out of the office is likely happening more quickly than most companies would like, but it’s a reality that needs to be faced regardless. As businesses take their operations online, many are focused on getting the bare essentials up and running before anything else. While developing a strong foundation is crucial, it’s just as important not to leave other aspects of the office behind.
It can be difficult to know how multifaceted your office truly is until you’re forced to make it digital. When making the switch to remote work, be sure to have a firm grasp on:
Culture is likely one of the last concerns businesses have when it comes to remote work, but it’s one of the most crucial. Developing a positive remote work culture can lead to higher employee productivity and satisfaction, safeguarding your business against potentially disastrous levels of attrition.
Maintaining culture over distance is easier said than done. Try and brainstorm the elements of your business that contribute to a positive culture, whether it be shared values or regular activities. Do your best to maintain those cultural nodes while out of the office — keeping a high level of cohesion prevents culture from deteriorating. Additionally, don’t be afraid to start new traditions or try new things to boost culture: new situations often demand new methods of keeping people together.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is difficult enough during good times, but now it’s become nearly impossible. When confined to the home, it’s especially difficult to keep firm boundaries between professional time and personal time — letting one bleed into the other can ruin both very quickly.
Setting hard working hours is an absolute must for anyone hoping to keep their team happy and productive when working remotely. Even though these times are particularly challenging for most businesses, be sure not to overload any worker or team with projects or assignments at any given time. Companies should be thinking about the long term right now, and burning out employees now is a surefire way to set your business up for failure down the line.
- Digital Infrastructure (Security)
Leaving the office means more than just leaving behind desks and phones — it means leaving behind a whole digital infrastructure as well. Once workers set up their home offices, there is no longer a centralized protection against cyberattacks. Due to the sudden shift to remote work, some 86% of businesses have experienced some kind of disruption in the network connectivity.
Plenty of firms offer distributed cybersecurity solutions, but it’s important to choose the one that works best for you. Simple apps like password safehouses can help protect access points to some of the platforms you use, but businesses that engage in more heavy-duty digital work like large-scale file transfers might need to invest in additional horsepower.
Communication in an office is easy, but holding regular in-person meetings or popping over to another worker’s desk just isn’t possible under a regime of remote work. Because of the extra effort required to communicate, some business leaders may take a “no news is good news” attitude towards giving feedback — doing so can prove to be a huge mistake.
Creating transparency on the job is always worth the effort. Leaving your employees in the dark about their performance or your company’s future can increase feelings of anxiety during an already anxious moment. Regular, honest communication puts everyone on the same page and allows your whole company to work together towards a common goal. By working to host regular Zoom meetings or give detailed email updates, you’re ensuring that employees feel connected at a time when connection is more difficult than ever.
Transitioning to remote work is never easy, but the speed with which it must be done today makes it especially difficult. By focusing on the most important aspects of your business, you can make the shift a smooth one for both you and your workers.