Remote Working Archives - Netlines

How Businesses Should Prepare for Remote Work Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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 for as little as $27 a month. 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.

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
isolation.

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.

Categories: Remote Working

Coworking: Is it Right For You?

Picture this: you’re stuck at home, working, losing track of time, not getting enough done. The isolation of at-home work is taking its toll. You don’t know where to find new motivation. Enter: Coworking. Coworking spaces are affordable, rentable office spaces designed for independent employees, small businesses, and remote workers.

As the gig economy and remote work options have increased, so has the need for new office concepts. And the proof is in the numbers: in 2010, the US had only 283 coworking spaces. In 2019, that number is 5,026 and will continue to grow. Every coworking concept is different, but the basics are a combination of offices or common space plus meeting areas or conference rooms that are available for daily, monthly, or yearly rates.

So, how do you know if coworking is right for you? Let’s dive into the benefits and types of coworking spaces so you can see if coworking could help you and your business.

Benefits of Coworking

Coworking has tons of benefits, but one of the biggest is the ability to separate your work and personal life. As anyone who operates out of a home office knows, it can be hard to “turn off” at the end of the work day. Coworking gives you a separate space to work, and if you go for a private office or desk, you can even keep all of your work supplies and papers out of your home.

Coworking also gives you an opportunity to enhance the professionalism of your business. You can host clients at the building rather than a public spot or in your home. Some coworking sites may also give you a mailing address to use on business cards and your website.

Another benefit of coworking is the potential networking opportunities. Working from home can be isolating; coworking spaces give you an opportunity to meet other people. Industry colleagues, vendors, potential clients –  either through water cooler chat or formal networking events, coworking expands your professional and personal network.

As coworking evolves, some are even expanding to offer other services. Gyms, fitness classes, food delivery, and childcare are all popping up as add-on services.

Another way to elevate your business? NetLines business phone service. NetLines gives you a separate business number on your personal smartphone with advanced business features such as an auto attendant and dial-by-name directory, so you can increase professionalism and keep your work and personal life separate. 

Types of Coworking Spaces

Every coworking space is unique and has a unique feel, so there’s nothing like researching and visiting the options in the area. However, there are some common types of memberships or spaces to understand when searching for your business’ new home:  

Dedicated Office

The ultimate in privacy: A dedicated office space will give you the option to shut the door and get your work done. You may be able to have multiple employees in one office or enough space for clients or customers to visit.  

Dedicated Desk

A dedicated desk is like having your own cubicle. It’s not as private as a dedicated office, but you’ll have an open spot every time you come to work. Many dedicated desks also have storage options or let you leave a monitor or computer at your desk, so you don’t have to lug equipment and papers back and forth each day. 

Common Area

Most coworking spaces have a combo of dedicated desks and offices as well as common areas. Meant to mimic a coffee shop or a library, these are often the most affordable memberships. You simply come in, grab a seat at a big table, and get to work on your laptop.

Minimal

Minimal coworking spaces are even more basic. Often founded by coworkers themselves, they have just the essentials – like tables and a coffee maker. These spaces are ultimately dependent on the owner’s vision, and may serve a specific market, like developers.

Is Coworking Right For You?

If you like the idea of a home away from home to get your work done, research the options near you and make sure to consider how you like to work. Coworking spaces aren’t a “must have”, but, they are a great way to elevate your professionalism while offering a number of other benefits. It could be the thing that takes your business to the next level!

Categories: Remote Working

 
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