5 Wa. ys businesses can support remote workforce amid the Covid-19 crisis. The battle against the Coronavirus continues and economies are slowly but surely adjusting to life with the pandemic.
Many companies have had to cut down on staff and outbound in new measures such as working from home to avoid transmission. This has had both negative and positive impact on the companies as well as the workforce. Here are ways a company may support remote workforce;
Be Flexible With Working Hours
Parents continue to have demands placed on their time that go well beyond work. Caregivers and volunteers need to have the freedom and support to take time to fulfill those roles, while everyone on the team needs to take regular breaks to go outside. Range, a workplace platform, has turned to ‘windowed work’ to accommodate the different schedules of its employees.
Colour-coded calendars are implemented to communicate various levels of availability on an individual’s behalf. Companies can take inspiration from their example and empower your employees to own their time and to communicate that schedule so expectations are clear and even help boost productivity. Workloads will be managed more effectively and employees can carry on being their best selves at work and at home – even if those two places are the same.
Maintain Regular Virtual Contact
Social distancing has reduced the scope for interactions outside of the home. When all restrictions are lifted, months will have passed and we don’t yet know what post-COVID socialisation will look like. In the interim, create opportunities for virtual connections.
Punctuating the work day with social exchanges is the key to replicating workplace interactions and to providing a reliable support system that wards off loneliness. For employees who live alone, work interactions may be their main point of socialisation during lockdown. Make virtual social hours optional but have them as regular features on your employee calendars.
Listen And Be Agile
As a manager or CEO, you need to listen to know what your people need. Whether it’s more or less flexibility, social interactions, support or time alone to focus on deep work, it’s your job to find out. You don’t need to guess and you shouldn’t assume; just ask and listen to the answer.
Preemptively ask for feedback but also be available to have those conversations when employees come to you unprompted. Follow feedback up with actions that address and contribute to the health of your remote office. It can be as simple as scheduling regular one-on-ones that are based on checking in, not on progress, but on wellbeing, sending periodic messages via your internal communications platform and orchestrating anonymous polls.
Sustain Culture And Recognition
If people are the foundation of your business, company culture is the cornerstone. Now is the true test of your values as a business and as a leader. Your employees will be looking to leaders to respond and if handled appropriately will engender long-term loyalty. Having a supportive culture can breed loyalty to the company and happiness within roles.
Cultures based on values should be accompanied by appropriate employee recognition. Some companies may be virtually onboarding new employees, who colleagues have never met in person. It becomes even more important for you to find ways to understand each other in remote times.
Provide Learning And Development (L&D) Opportunities
COVID-19 will result in the need for millions of people to upskill and reskill themselves to be prepared for the new world of work. With many of those employees currently furloughed, at risk of redundancy in the long-term, employers need to support their colleagues to transition and reinvent themselves by providing L&D opportunities.
By supporting your employees to use time on furlough productively upskilling themselves or encouraging broader personal development, you are not only future-proofing them but your own business so that when life returns to normal you will have a more skilled and motivated workforce.