We are currently in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis, one that is taking us out of work, school, bars, and restaurants, and keeping us “socially distanced” from as many people as possible. The markets are not promising, and we will certainly have a long road ahead of us when we come out on the other side.
While we are navigating the unknown, one thing that is for certain is that it is critical to move ahead with work as usual - to the best of our abilities - so that when we return back to a new normal we are able to continue moving ahead without too much cleanup bogging us down.
Long before COVID-19, work from home or remote work was rising in popularity. Especially among the younger set, and as we build a more global workforce, the flexibility of working from the comforts of home or a cafe proved appealing. Now, this is a necessity as we head into the next few weeks.
According to a study by Fundera, two-thirds of managers report that their employees are more productive when they work from home. This is because they have fewer distractions - no office gossip, random meetings, or loud office spaces. But there is also a percentage of workers who have a tougher time working remote - they feel isolated, get distracted by their TV, or decide to do laundry rather than work on a report.
So how do we make remote work, work for everyone? How do we keep the systems moving across the company?
Keep your regularly scheduled meetings on the calendar. Working remotely does not mean that we are on an island. We need to be extra tuned-in to what is happening in our companies to prevent operations from going off-course. Regular schedules are critical for helping people to stay on course, so abandoning those could ultimately derail your team. Use this time and these meetings as an opportunity for employees to really speak up - you might find that someone who was quiet in big personal meetings can actually thrive when they are on their own.
Continue working on projects, maintain the same timeline. Big campaigns, projects, product launches, hiring of new employees, etc. - keep working on them and maintain the same timeline rather than postponing. While it may not be ideal to interview candidates or onboard new employees over video conference, it is critical to move ahead with these types of projects to keep the business moving forward.
Communicate with your company. In addition to regular meetings, our employees will want to know what is happening. The increase in remote work means the decrease in office chat, which is how many people learn about the goings-on in a company. Work with your communications team to ensure that internal communications are thorough and frequent. If you lose communication with your employees, they may start to lose communication and connection to the company.
Maintain your culture. One of the top reasons employees work for a company nowadays is culture. Team lunch on Wednesdays, drinks after work on Fridays. This all disappears when everyone is remote. Maintain a sense of camaraderie by getting creative - have virtual lunch and learns or cocktail hours. Schedule time for everyone to do an at-home yoga class. Whatever you were doing in the office that kept people coming back, think of how that can translate to a virtual audience.
With the technology that we have available in 2020, remote work and the maintenance of productivity is more achievable now than it once was. Use this time to get creative, to connect with your employees and leadership, and think about how you can implement new strategies for productivity going forward.
What has your company done to help keep you productive during this time?
What strategies have you implemented for yourself?
I would love to know.