COVID-19: The Business World Goes Remote
The outbreak of COVID-19 has shuttered the world, threatening people’s health. It’s also having a great impact on the lifestyle we all preferred to maintain. Business owners and their companies are under threat of economic crisis due to the virus and the recent public stock market drop.
The situation that we see now throughout the world poses certain challenges for those who run a business, making them either stay out of the game or adapt to the new circumstances. The first and major change is the shift to remote work. Global giants such as Amazon, Google, Salesforce, and others going remote to protect the health of their employees are still ensuring business development, while it is not new for companies like Trello, Evernote or Zapier, which hire remote developers and other staff for a long time now. Remote work opens new opportunities for those who were never engaged in it before, and it may require some effort to adjust to. Below, we’re sharing information that will help businesses adopt remote work.
Shifting to Remote Work From the Company Perspective
Going remote as a company may sound like isolation for all your employees, worsening communication and your overall results. This is the main fear of all business owners, but, in fact, it is not true. It is even possible to improve corporate culture by following the same rules while offline: being on time for all meetings, respecting your colleagues, avoiding interrupting them, making sure everyone is aligned by sending meeting minutes after every call. It entails even the opportunity for the leadership to instill more trust in their employees by keeping communication transparent and clear.
It’s important to outline the company’s strategy in response to coronavirus threats and help your team mentally and physically constantly communicate the news and resources that will be helpful to the team. In a situation like this, it’s important people feel that they have supportive management. It’s extremely important to make core decisions in terms of personnel management on all levels: starting from ensuring everyone’s safety to making important business decisions, including hiring remote employees to ensure that inability to work due to sick leave is covered. The prioritization of the key company initiatives is relevant like never before, so it would be necessary not only to make such decisions but to communicate them properly to all your employees by using more personalized approaches such as online calls.
Remote Work Essentials
When organizing remote work, it is important to make sure everything is going smoothly, so you need to think over the following aspects of the remote work:
1. Remote working environment. It’s necessary to ensure your workers have a stable internet connection and can work without interruptions. Also, it’s beneficial to create and share the list of working tools so employees don’t miss anything important. Internet security should be respected regardless of circumstances, so you will need to limit access to internal tools via the help of a VPN system.
2. Personalize communication. When everyone was in the office, it was easier to talk to one another. Now, to keep a personal touch, make sure to organize a call on Skype or Zoom to see the person on the other side and save time chatting in corporate messengers. People will work more productively if they see they’re not alone in this situation and that their colleagues are also working remotely. Encourage virtual breaks together to simulate real office small talks, which will make the working atmosphere warmer.
3. Encourage responsibility. It’s easy to get lost and to forget to attend a meeting if you are not in the office or miss a deadline if nobody comes to the desk to remind you about it. Make sure all your employees are accountable for their actions and know that now the amount of work they do fully depends on them.
4. Make updates to the sick leave policy. Currently, companies are increasing the number of days that can be taken for sick leave. Also, taking into account the quarantine in educational institutions, sick leave can be necessary as kids or relatives are affected. In addition, some companies stopped requiring the medical certificate to be eligible for sick leave. Take care of your employee’s health, as the crisis will pass but your relationship in critical situations will not be forgotten.
5. Use all the power of digitalization. Make sure to get acquainted with the tools that facilitate remote work such as corporate messengers, audio and video conference tools, project management tools, task trackers, and others. It will help to increase productivity in the remote environment.
Take Advantage of Tools That Facilitate Remote Work
Talking about helpful tools for remote work, there are a ton of them. Right now, global companies are taking the coronavirus situation seriously and are doing everything they can to support other businesses with their products. There is a visible trend of extending free trials and providing discounts for software crucial for remote work. Google started to provide premium Hangouts Meet for Business features for free until July 1 With the help of Slack, you can benefit from the Standard plan without fees as well. Also, such free tools such as Teamviewer may come in handy as it will help the IT specialists to fix the issues if other members experience some technical difficulties.
It’s also important to think about education for your employees. Such big education companies as Coursera started offering more free courses in response to coronavirus. It’s also beneficial to think about leisure and take advantage of visiting the world’s most popular theatre plays or museums.
Remote work is not an innovative method, but under such conditions, it keeps evolving and increasing the opportunities for those who opt in to be safer and more flexible following the current situation. Following the trend, jobs other than the IT sector that previously could not be viewed as remote have started to digitalize. The changes will not happen easily and can bring some difficulties, but now it is more important than ever to adjust your pace and take care of the most important things: our life and health.