One of the biggest changes and challenges for COVID-19 has been the jump to staff working from home for many businesses. While some companies already have a remote workforce, for many more this is uncharted territory. At 2XM Recruit, many of our staff have been working from home and there are a number of things we have learned and discovered about how to make it work efficiently for everyone involved. Microsoft (MS) Teams meetings have certainly become a staple part of our WFH processes!
Safety of your staff
This refers to both physical and mental health. Given this has been a quick change for many, not everyone is fortunate enough to have an established home office. It is important to remember that some staff may be working from their kitchen table or their bedroom! Employees may need help creating the right environment. This goes into the effects on their mental health as well. Revisit safety programs and risk frameworks to ensure they cover the challenges of working remotely and create communication channels to discuss issues – even just to keep up socialisation. At 2XM Recruit, we proactively asked people to complete a WFH risk assessment to ensure their physical setup was appropriate, while also ensuring our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) was up to the task of supporting any employees mental health concerns.
Take advantage of digital platforms
These days, there are so many options when it comes to remote collaboration and working outside of the office. Consider what technology is needed to help your staff work best. You may need to look at data and security programs, communication apps (such as Google Hangouts and Zoom), online documents (MS Teams and Google Docs) and project management (Trello, BaseCamp). Take this opportunity to see how they can work within your organisation. MS Teams has been a huge part of our WFH processes, as well as Sharepoint for data sharing and security.
Set guidelines early
Set up the norms for your remote workforce early. Activities such as daily catch ups, how to contact senior staff when issues come up and what is expected of staff day-to-day are all important factors. Understand that this is very different for some of your team and that they may have new distractions to work through (such as children to look after!). Daily team catch ups via video call and a key activity log have helped 2XM staff stay on track.
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is communication barriers. Staff can’t just go up to someone’s desk to chat, senior staff don’t see their team and won’t know if there are issues if employees don’t speak up and some things may fall through the cracks initially. However, this can be temporary, if you make sure to use the tools available and use them often. Video conferencing is the closest thing to being in person, but also make use of phone calls and online chats and find out the best method for your team and individuals.
Create a community
Bring the community in the office to the digital world. Consider ways to encourage collaboration, conversation and a little fun. Make it easy for people to get involved and build that culture remotely. With a little creativity, building a strong and positive company culture that boosts engagement is absolutely possible if you put the work in. Friday afternoon beers and celebration of wins, has helped to keep a positive and focused environment for our teams.
A remote workforce can seem a little overwhelming, particularly when there was no time to plan for the change. Be patient with how it plays out and consider the positives of this. We are all in this together. If you need help, feel free to reach out to our team (wherever they may be working!).