The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11. This means that every industry will be impacted and it is crucial that organizations take calm steps to ensure the health and safety of workers and their families and communities.
As workplaces prepare to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19, organizations and governments are asking for employees to work from home in the upcoming weeks ahead. For some, working from home is business as usual, but for many it will be the first time having to manage a remote workforce. Transitioning your organization will pose challenges in employee engagement, motivation and staying aligned – Here’s how to make sure your organization is work-from-home ready:
- Check your tech
Don’t assume that your employees have all the technology required for them to excel at home. Some employees might be sharing a computer with their families where company information might be stored. Check in with your team and ask them what type of workstation and operation system (OS) they are using. For employees who need computers, leveraging short term technology rentals is a good idea. Organizations such as CO2Neutral provides high performance laptops and desktops so you can avoid paying full price for devices that will only be needed for a short time. CO2Neutral’s rental program has options to extend the rental period depending on how it takes for business to go back to usual. Make sure that your employees have the necessary accessories such as docking station, keyboard, charger, mouse, and headphones.
- Prepare programs and digital tools
Consider how your employees will be sharing documents, discussions, updates and ideas. Confirm with your team and make sure they have access to work drives and other web soft applications from home. Setting up a virtual private network (VPN) is a good idea to ensure private data is being transported securely across unknown networks including employees who might be on a public WiFi connection. Ensure your team members are comfortable using all required digital tools by sending out a checklist which includes tools such as video conferencing, access to work drives and clouds, and any other online collaborating tools.
- Be flexible
Working conditions at home might not be optimal for many employees and some might not have a separate home office area. Be patient as they figure out how to create a productive working environment. As the virus spreads, schools are choosing to remain closed meaning that many of your employees will not only be navigating how to work from home, but how to juggle their day to day operations while watching over their children.
- Trust your team and over communicate
It might be unnerving to not see your employees physically working around you and feeling unsure about productivity. This is where constant and consistent communication comes into play. It could be as simple as sharing the mobile numbers of all team member so they can easily reach each other, or scheduling more consistent 1on1s with each team member. If your team is used to in-person meetings and updates, it is crucial to increase how regularly you check in with your people. Pick up the phone more often and ask your team members if they need any additional support. Routinely send out emails with messaging around encouragement and motivation to keep them productive. Remember, it is important that you keep you prioritize the mental and physical health of your team, as you work to maintain workforce productivity.
It will take time for your organization to level off and settle into this new work environment. However, by being prepared, you can make the best of this situation and maintain productivity and positivity for your team.