With cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly increasing across the US and around the world, more businesses are beginning to implement a work from home policy to keep their employees healthy and slow the spread of the virus, and the list of companies adapting this policy continues to expand every day. However, this sudden shift can drum up challenges if businesses aren’t prepared for a remote work style with the right guidelines, tools and technology.
If you’re thinking about implementing a work from home policy for your company but you don’t know where to start, here are five tips to help you make that transition a success for your employees and your business.
1. Establish clear guidelines
When establishing a remote work policy, it’s important to be clear with employees about the guidelines, such as work hour flexibility, lunch break policies, etc. Working away from the office may cause temptation among employees to shift hours slightly to either start their day earlier or later – make sure to establish what the parameters are for this and whether employees should stick to their normal schedule or if some flexibility is allowed. Guidelines need to be especially clear for employees when switching to a remote work style, but once you’ve established these guidelines and made them clear, trust in your employees to adhere to them just as they would in a traditional office setting.
2. Have the right technology in place
In order for an organization to effectively work from home, there needs to be a heavy reliance on technology to get work done and communicate across teams. It’s important to make sure your organization is using the most effective tools that will help keep communication streamlined and efficient.
Business owners need to adapt their technology to better suit the needs of remote working – NetLines is a quick and easy mobile working solution to help with streamlined communication that’s perfect for offices shifting to a work from home policy. Employees simply download the NetLines app onto their smartphone (available for both iPhone and Android) and can easily keep business phone calls flowing smoothly, both within their teams and externally with clients. Right now, businesses can save hundreds of dollars from their current phone provider when they switch to NetLines. Find out more about how to make the switch here.
3. Ensure each employee is setup for success
It can be distracting for some to work from home – from the access to TV, to pets begging for attention, and children running around the house, it can be tough to get in the work zone. In order to ensure employees will be able to put their best foot forward, it’s important for each employee to have an area where they can shut the door and work away from all of those distractions. Encourage employees to find their own space, whether that be a bedroom or home office, and transform it into their own office space.
To help them get into the office mindset even more, they can setup their space to look like their desk area in the office where they were previously working. They can decorate the area with photos, plants, notes, or whatever will make the area feel more like a work environment and less like a room in their home.
4. Keep your employees’ mental health top of mind
Working in isolation away from coworkers to easily talk to and bounce ideas off of can be difficult – and for some it may even take a toll on their mental health. It’s important to offer employees the opportunity to quickly and easily connect with their fellow teammates so they don’t feel alone on an island while they’re working from home.
One of the most unique features of NetLines is Hubs, or a preset group of 2-200 people, set up like a contact so that teams, committees and departments can quickly and easily get in touch with one another. It’s like using a group communication app, but without the headache.
With just one click, employees can call or send a message to the entire group at once with no need for a call-in number or pin code – making it easy to stay in touch with others and prevent the feeling of
It’s also important to check in on your employees, even more so than normal, to ensure each person is doing well, not just with their workload but also mentally. Working from home can be a big transition, so it’s essential to touch base with employees and make sure they are handling the change well – and if not, ask how you can help make the transition easier for them.
5. Help your employees stay motivated
Working from home has a lot of great perks, but it can be difficult to stay motivated in a nontraditional office environment. An easy way to help your employees maintain motivation every day is to offer small incentives that can make a big impact. For example, offer an early Friday dismissal to employees who reach a certain goal that you set. Any type of incentive that is universally desirable among all employees will help keep that motivation strong across the company, even in a changing work environment.
Another easy way to keep spirits high among your company is to host a phone or video conference call once a week to give employees the opportunity to share updates and give kudos to team members who
deserve a shout out for their hard work. This will keep everyone connected and looped into updates across teams and departments, as well as give motivation to work hard to potentially receive recognition from a fellow team member.
We encourage you to prioritize your employees’ health and wellness. With today’s technology, there are options to keep your business running smoothly, and if you have any questions or concerns, we recommend keeping up to date with the CDC’s guidelines for businesses and employers.