Remote work will become more than a trend.
Because the current COVID-19 outbreak approaches a global pandemic, firms have difficult choices to face. In countries such as China, which had been caused by the virus, workplaces have already shut down to limit or slow disease transmission. Apple, for instance, has closed most of its stores in the country and has already announced that it will be less than its previous estimate on a quarterly basis because of the supply limit generated by shuttered plants.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it is time for panic. It means that the time has come to prepare.
Preparation for many businesses means putting in place a system to let the team work even if you can’t reach the office for a while.
A business I work for last summer, but not as a result of viral outbreak, had actually experienced this challenge. Although most of our staff has been remote, all 170 workers worked remotely for three weeks in June. Here are some of the things our company has learned from you in preparation for your team:
Start to Practice
If you don’t allow your team to work remotely already, start now. When you make your way to remote work much easier, it is much easier to develop the systems and processes you need to create. It’s hard to know exactly where the pain points are, till you suddenly know that your regular meeting with the team is not going to take place in person.
Agreement on targets
Changing the entire team at home would definitely be disruptive. Through setting concrete goals around the types of work required to keep things going, you will mitigate this disturbance. It is important to acknowledge that the goals may be different than when the team was together in the office. Concentrate instead on the priorities that will help your team in every environment to be productive.
Put in place the right tools
One of the advantages of technology is that it can help your team keep connected even in physical situations. This is particularly important to work together and to communicate between teams. Tools such as Slack and Zoom do not replace face-to-face communication, but may help you build a structure to stay active, even while you are at home.
You will also want to talk about certain equipment or resources the team needs. Do you have a laptop and a smartphone, or do you have to bring your own device? In any case, you should think about it and make sure your team is able to do what it needs to continue to work.
Confidence in your people
In the end, your structure must reflect a degree of confidence in your people. Remote work requires a measure of control to be let go, because you can not continuously see what everyone does. This is good by the way. By the way. If you are concerned that your team will work outside your watchful eye, start with a deep breath. It’ll be all right. For a reason, you hired this team and it is now time to make it a success.