Remote Working Archives - Netlines

Best Practices for Transitioning Your Business Back to the Office

As stay-at-home orders begin to lift across the country, businesses are starting to allow employees to come back into the office – but before jumping into it, there are a few things that should be considered. After working at home or remotely for the past couple of months, it will be a bit of a transition for employees to adjust back to office life, and business owners should understand and acknowledge that during this transition period.

Give more flexibility than usual

Every employee is going to be different in terms of their mental state from the stress of the pandemic and their comfort level with getting back into the office. That’s why it’s important to give some flexibility for the first few weeks for how often employees come into the office versus working from home. For some it might be more difficult to make that switch again, so employees should be encouraged to take things at their own pace while adjusting back to normal life again.

Business owners can make this transition as easy as possible for their employees with the right technology. Businesses that use NetLines for their phone system can easily switch between working from home and remotely with no hassle because all calls and communication are happening on one easy to use app, regardless of location. It’s essential for businesses to streamline communication as much as possible in order to run smoothly and efficiently – especially during these times.

Encourage PTO and mental health breaks

This period has been mentally, emotionally, and in some cases physically draining for all of us. That’s why it’s important to encourage your employees to schedule some time off of work in order to refresh and rejuvenate their mind and body so they can get back to normal office life on the right foot.

It’s also important to encourage employees to take small breaks throughout the day to stretch their legs and take a walk around the block or rest their eyes from the screen and eat lunch outside. While working from home these past couple of months, some employees might have developed bad habits of working all day with little to no breaks, so it’s important to remind them just how effective little breaks throughout the day can be for their productivity and mental health.

Reinvigorate office culture

During the stay at home order, your office might have lost a bit of what makes its culture unique. With employees coming back into the office, it’s important to reintroduce the activities or practices that make your office culture great. Whether its group lunches, happy hours or office games, begin implementing those activities back into the office routine again to help employees feel comfortable with the transition and excited to get back to the pre-coronavirus routine.

Categories: Productivity, Remote Working, Small Business

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance While Working From Home

Given the shifting workplace structure due to the coronavirus pandemic, more and more Americans are now working from home – in fact, a new MIT report shows that 34% of Americans who commuted to work previously are now working from home due to the coronavirus.

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is finding a healthy work-life balance, since it can be easy to begin blurring that line when it’s all happening at home. However, it is possible to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life if you keep your mental and physical well-being top of mind by following these tips.

1. Establish physical boundaries

It can be easy to blur the line between work and play when it’s all happening under the same roof. That’s why it’s important to have a physical space that functions as your “work area,” whether that be an entire room or just one corner of a room.

The physical separation of your work area from the rest of your space will help you get into the work zone when it’s working hours – then when you’re done for the day, you can physically leave that area behind until it’s time to work again, giving you the opportunity to wind down and decompress from the day.

2. Separate business and personal communication

Working from home often means forwarding your business phone to your cell phone, which can also mean answering business calls and texts at all hours of the day, whether you want to or not.

Luckily, the NetLines business phone app offers the ability to separate business and personal calls while still using just one cell phone by providing users with a different phone number for all business calls and communication. That way, you can better screen your calls and know whether it’s work-related before accepting.

You can even silence your business calls when you’re done with work for the day, so you can enjoy your phone for personal use without worrying about business interruptions.

3. Schedule time for acts of self-care

Whether it’s going for a walk in the middle of the day, taking a break to practice meditation or taking a longer lunch to make a delicious meal, it’s important to take time for yourself throughout the workday in order to stay motivated. Simple acts of self-care go a long way in providing relief for your mind and body – especially if you sit in a chair staring at a screen for most of the day.

4. Take time off when you need it

While it may feel difficult or even selfish to take time off from work during this time, it’s important to step away from the “office” when needed in order to decompress, relax and take your mind off of anything that has been causing stress.

Once you’re ready to return, you’ll be able to refocus your energy and bring a fresh perspective to the table that will be more beneficial for yourself and your workplace in the end.

If you’re worried about missing work or business calls, our auto attendant app can greet callers with a custom message, handle call forwarding, and more so you can switch off without concern.

5. Establish a work schedule and stick to it

Often times people who work from home end up working longer hours than those who work in a physical office because it can be easy to get into a groove and continue working well past 5 p.m. without even realizing it. However, this is a quick way to cause burnout.

It’s important to establish a goal time that you would like to sign off every day – and try to stick to it. If your colleagues reach out to ask something of you past that time, consider politely letting them know that you are offline for the evening, but you will get to it the next day.

Categories: Remote Working

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

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