WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The Italian government has shut the entire country down. The predicted global statistics surrounding COVID-19 are staggering. For most of us, we’ve never seen this type of situation before, and it’s surreal. As a result, many businesses are transitioning to a fully remote team in response to the COVID-19 virus.
This transition can be difficult. Particularly for employees who have never worked remotely before. But, with the right tools in place, a fully remote team can be productive and successful.
Remote work isn’t feasible for every type of business, but having a backup plan in place is recommended. If you aren’t sure how to go about moving from in-person to remote, we’ve got information that will help you transition to fully remote teams and individuals during the time of a crisis.
Create a Crisis Operations Plan
Before sending your teams home with their computers, the leadership team must get all their ducks aligned. During this unprecedented time, the goals must be made clear. Put together a document outlining expectations and outcomes.
- You’ll need to have your remote work policies defined
- Assign team leaders if they aren’t already in place
- Team leaders and managers will need preparation
- Find creative ways to carry on company culture
- Trust your team. You hired them for a reason!
- Make sure your team has all the tools they’ll need to function remotely.
- Schedule online meetings. This also helps teams feel less isolated.
Tools For A Remote Team
To make the transition from the workplace to work-from-home as seamless as possible, you’ll need to make sure your teams have everything necessary for productivity. Assign someone the task of creating a checkout list, so it’s easy to keep track of who is taking home what.
- Computers: Many companies assign laptops to team members. If that’s not the case, consider giving each team member who doesn’t have one some budget to allow them to buy one. Or offer a monetary bonus to those who will be using their personal computers for company business.
- Monitors: There are many positions throughout a company that uses one or more monitors for their work.
- Hardware: If your company runs on a specific type of hardware installed on computers, ensure this is functioning correctly outside of the work environment.
- Cords: This may sound silly to keep track of cords, but there are a lot of them involved in a workspace setup—chargers, power strips, adapters, HDMI cords, dongles, extension cords, and more.
- High-speed internet access: Not everyone has decent home internet. If any of your team members express that, consider offering a stipend to aid them in getting high-speed internet access.
Setting Those Work Expectations
Setting guidelines and expectations will be critical components to staying organized throughout the transition to remote teams.
- Check-ins: Although this can get cumbersome, have one of your IM channels set up for check-ins and outs.
- Productivity: Give teams thorough outlines of daily work. There are productivity tools like Monday and Trello to help organize this effort.
- Hours: Set expected work times and daily hours.
- Feedback: Providing consistent positive feedback to teams can prove to be beneficial in keeping morale up and productivity high.
- Communication: Encourage teams to remain communicative throughout the day.
Utilize the Many Available Tools
There are many apps available that will keep your remote teams connected and productive. You’ll need to make sure your employees do have access to the internet.
Video Conferencing/Screen Sharing
- Google docs
Distraction Busting/Program Blocking
Premium Tools Offering Temporary Free Services
- Microsoft Teams six-month free trial
- Google Hangout until July 1, 2020
- LogMeIn free for three months
- Cisco Webex 90 day licensing free
- Zoom unlimited free conference calling
- Comcast Internet Essentials 2 free months for new users
- AT&T suspending broadband data caps
Keep Open Lines Of Communication
These are looking to be trying times. Pay attention to the behavior your newly remote team is exhibiting. For some, working from home can be stressful as they adjust to the new process. Reach out to everyone when possible, to do a mental wellness check. Most likely, you are fully aware of each employee’s productivity and potential, so keep that in mind as they adapt to working remotely.
In conclusion, it’s always beneficial to have a disaster response plan in place. And, the health of the community needs to be a priority. During this time, patience will be a virtue. But, having faith in your team and being there to guide them when necessary will only make you a stronger organization.
Stay healthy! Stay productive!