As the impact of the coronavirus continues to spread, companies are having to adapt to frequently changing guidelines. But one initial strategy is now pretty much standard practice among office-based businesses: moving to remote working.
As companies like Twitter realised early on, this allows you to protect your staff from potential infection, and minimise the spread of the virus, without affecting their ability to work. (It also offers a number of other business advantages, which we’ll explain at the end of this article.)
However, if you want to do it well, you need to have some core principles in place right from the start. Here are five things to think about when setting up remote working.
Remote working works best when managers
value outputs more than inputs, and trust their employees to do their jobs when
out of sight. So give your team the
tools and priorities they need to do their job from home, then trust them to
get on with it. If you don’t, that’s an HR issue, not a flexible working one.
Equip your employees to work from anywhere
A significant barrier to remote
working is not having access to the right files and systems. You need to
develop a solution that replicates their office desktop at home, whether on a
company laptop or their home computer – and have the right IT support at the
end of a phone.
Prioritise what can and should be done
Clearly, some tasks are more suited to
remote working than others. So if you’re using it as a short-term solution to
the coronavirus, it’s worth working out which of your priorities can be tackled
most successfully at this time – and making sure your team are aware of what
Use tech to help stay in touch
From Skype calls and Google hangouts to
Slack and social media, there are a large number of tech solutions to enable
you and your team to communicate with each other. In one company in Hong Kong which
has moved to remote working due to coronavirus, teams have set up What’s App
groups to mirror the informal office chat they’re missing out on.
your employees to switch off
When people are working from their kitchen tables, it’s all too easy for them to get caught up in a piece of work and let it spread into the evening. Support your employees’ work-life balance by encouraging them to formally switch off at the end of their working day.