Running a business isn’t exactly easy or straightforward work at any time. But finding yourself trying to continue operations in the midst of a global pandemic can make things even more difficult. In January of this year, nobody could have predicted what the next few months would hold. The rapid spread of the deadly and contagious coronavirus has turned the world upside down for many of us. There are hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives. There are even more people who have lost loved ones and are finding themselves grieving. Even those who haven’t been directly impacted by the virus itself are finding themselves living in completely different circumstances to those they’re used to. Governments across the world are implementing lockdown protocol which requires everyone except key workers to stay at home at all times, only leaving to get the basic essentials, such as food and medicine.
When people do leave their homes, they’re being encouraged to wear face coverings, latex gloves, or use hand sanitiser, while maintaining a two metre distance from anyone else out at the same time. Unsurprisingly, this has hugely affected the way businesses operate and the way employees work. Many businesses are struggling hugely – if their staff can’t work while maintaining a two metre distance from one another, and unless the workplace can provide sufficient personal protective equipment, they can’t continue operations. If your workplace can operate on a remote basis, you’re in luck. Your workers can continue to work from home and you can continue to make profits. But you’re going to have to take a few different steps to help keep your employees on track during these difficult and unprecedented times. Here are a few to take into consideration!
First of all, you need to make sure you’re being as empathetic as you can be. Nobody was prepared for this situation and many employees simply won’t be able to be as productive as they’d usually be in the office while they’re working from home. If any employees fall ill, you need to give them sufficient time to recover without placing too much pressure on them. Remember that some may have lost loved ones and will need to take time off to grieve. Schools are also closed, which means many employees will be trying to look after and teach their kids from home at the same time as working. It’s all a lot to ask. So, don’t place too much pressure or too high expectations on your employees right now.
Make Sure They Have the Right Software and Tools
Working from home is very different from working in an office space and there are two main things that factor into this. Firstly, you need to make sure your staff have the right equipment to work from home. If they usually work from a laptop in the office, this is relatively straight forward. They can just take the laptop and its charger and take it home with them so they have a device to complete their work on remotely. If you have your workers on computers in the office, things may be a little more difficult. You may have to invest in laptops to be delivered to them for them to work on. We don’t know how long this situation will continue, so see it as an investment. They could be using this laptop for months to come! Another area to focus on is ensuring that your staff have the right software to work remotely. Remember that in office, communication is simple and straightforward.
If your staff are struggling with something, need clarification or if projects are being pitched and ideas are being presented, getting the communication across is really easy. They can simply walk to someone else’s desk. They can arrange a meeting. There are all sorts of face to face options. But when working remotely, this is more difficult. Your staff can’t see when others are busy. They don’t know if they’ll be interrupting. Messages can get lost. Having the right software on board to help with all of these things can make working from home significantly easier for your staff. Make the most of resources like free employee scheduling tools and software so everyone knows when people are occupied or not. You may also want to consider software like Microsoft Teams. This is ideal for remote workers, offering staff everything they need to communicate with one another in an effective manner. It includes instant messaging software, as well as options for secure team meetings.
Make They Know What Is Expected of Them
It may be difficult for staff to keep on top of their work right now, as they may feel they don’t have any direction or know exactly what is expected of them while working under these new conditions. It’s a good idea to clear up any doubts by outlining clear expectations in the form of KPIs (or “key performance indicators”) and by setting goals. This will give a good indication of what staff need to have achieved and by when. It will let everyone better organise their working days so they can ensure that every task they need to complete is turned in on time and to a good quality. This can be good for the procrastinators amongst your workers too, as it will ensure they don’t fall behind or slack.
Create Routes for Feedback
Communication between you and your staff is important during this time too – not just communication between your employees. At the end of the day, your staff are the best people to suggest improvements that can be made to help them be more productive while working from home. Of course, many employees will walk on eggshells around their boss and will be reluctant to say anything potentially negative with the business’ operations. But you do need problems to be highlighted in order to rectify them and ensure everyone can work to the best of their ability at all times! So, how can you get clear and honest communication from your staff? The answer is anonymous surveys. Asking your staff questions on an anonymous questionnaire will give them a chance to make suggestions without fear of repercussion. You never know, someone might make a simple suggestion that is simple to implement, but could save your company a lot of money or help you make much larger profits through increases in productivity!
Maintain a Sense of Team Spirit
Team bonding and team spirit are essential in any workforce. Individual brilliance is important, but at the same time, people need to work together to produce the best results possible! Now, creating a team bond while remote working is in play may seem difficult. But there are ways to keep team spirit high. Nowadays, there are more and more apps and more pieces of software out there that allow for group video calls. It’s a good idea to get all members of set teams together on these calls so everyone can see each other at once and catch up. Just try not to have too many people on a call at once, as people can start talking over each other due to delays in transmission between different devices.
These are just a few suggestions that can help to keep everyone in your company on track professionally during this worldwide pandemic. Sure, it may take a little time for everyone to settle into this new way of working – and hopefully it will all pass soon. But for now, the above tips and tricks can really help to maintain good spirits and productivity!