How To Quickly Establish A Remote Working Team In Wake Of COVID-19

how to quickly establish remote working team covid-19 lockdown coronavirus social distancing office closure

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis almost overnight companies discovered they would have to accommodate remote working. With people being asked to stay home and only travel outside for essential journeys, it’s up to employers to set up a remote working environment for their staff. But if you have no experience in working remotely, how can you quickly establish a team? In this article we’ll cover all the essential steps to enable you and your company to work remotely. 

Working remotely can feel like a radical change in the way that your company operates. But it needn’t be so overwhelming. There are many digital tools that you and your colleagues are probably using already that help enable productivity doesn’t suffer. You might be more remote ready than you think during this time of coronavirus workplace shutdowns! 

How Can You Support Your Employees? 

During such uncertain times it’s important to ask as a company, what you can do to help people effectively work from home. Your staff might never have worked from home before and now overnight have to set up an office space. It’s important to support them during this time and provide them with an allowance budget or even use a courier service to send them what they need

Consider the following: 

• WiFi cost 
• Childminding costs or option for flexible working hours 
• Chair and desk costs 
• Headset with microphone 

Staff Phone 

If you want to ship items to your staff from your office to their home, there are effective ways you can do this, which would cost less than buying new equipment. Many luggage shipping companies provide a door to door delivery service that will allow you to ship items from your office straight to your employee’s door. This option would save you money in a time where all businesses are currently feeling the pinch. You can learn more about luggage shipping here. 

Communication 

The most important things you need to establish are key communication tools. Your staff will need to be reassured that there is a way for them to contact their managers, delegate their work and discuss their responsibilities in real time. There are plenty of tools available that can help you, it’s important to use one tool throughout your company, so that everyone is on the same page. There’s no point downloading Skype if you can make your video calls via Google Hangouts. Below we’ve covered some of the most popular tools. 

Slack 

Slack is an instant messaging programme that allows you and your staff to communicate in real time through messaging. You can create threads, groups depending on departments and enable notifications to prompt staff members to communicate with one another. It is a great alternative to office communication and allows your staff to chat with others directly, without having to rely on email. 

Trello 

If you want to streamline your workflow and provide your staff with a visual reminder of their workload then Trello is a great option. Trello is like an online corkboard, allowing you to plan ideas, delegate tasks and record all progress and feedback all in one place. 

Google Hangouts 

Sometimes messages and email just won’t cut it and you will want to meet up with staff over video. Google Hangouts is an easy way to organise a meeting and chat with staff. It doesn’t involve you needing to download another programme and can be linked directly to your Gmail, if your company uses this system. 

Google Drive 

If your company uses Gmail, it would be clever to utilize the Google Drive. This will allow staff to store all their work in one place but will also enable them to be able to share it with others, allowing them to edit it or amend it. 

IT And Security 

Before your employees try to login from home, it’s important to be sure that they can do this. Many companies have strict IT practises or firewalls that do not let employees access their accounts or the tools they need to do their job from home. It’s vital that you have spoken with your IT department and ensured that access to your company systems is available for remote workers. 

One of the easiest ways to identify any issues is to have a member of management try to work from home first. This will then give you an idea of what barriers they might come into contact with. You will then be able to identify and amend any issues before delegating roles to your staff members at home. 

Meetings 

You can still effectively arrange meetings whilst working remotely, but with the use of communication tools, not all meetings will be necessary. It’s important to offer your time to your employees and let them know they can arrange a meeting with you via a video call application. Checking in with your staff during such an uncertain time can offer reassurance and support. There may be staff members who are finding remote work challenging and will need extra help during this transition, making yourself available is a great way to combat any worries. 

For meetings it’s important to set some ground rules. Always stick to the one application, be that Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype. Have someone in the meeting be a scribe, who will write up any meeting points and objectives to work on from the meeting. If you use Google Drive, this document can be made available to everyone and be open to edit. It’s also important to have some video call rules, such as always have your webcam on, always be appropriately dressed and try not to have the TV on in the background! 

Remote Working Feedback 

You want to know how your staff are feeling during this challenging time of Covid-19 lockdowns and quarantines. Allow them to give independent feedback on the transition, this will let you know what is and isn’t working. It will also give you an idea on what to improve and work on to help support them in the next few months of lockdown. If you work with Gmail, you can use their Google Forms tool, which allows your staff to give anonymous feedback. Encourage staff to let you know of any issues they are currently experiencing and how you as a company can help to resolve this. This will help ensure that overall productivity doesn’t suffer during this time of a coronavirus lockdown.

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, & Blog Outreach Services