Not all companies have the option or ability to offer working from home.
Not all people have experienced working from home and may find this to be a real challenge.
However, in these uncertain times, and in order to mitigate the potential spread of Coronavirus, many companies are recommending and even mandating that their employees work from home. The main goal is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our community while allowing operations to continue as seamlessly as possible.
So what can employers do to ensure success while your company works remotely?
Here's what Showpass is doing after our recent decision to have our entire office work from home:
1. Daily Meetings
We are setting up daily meetings to communicate with everyone. Communication is typically the hardest part of running any company, even when everyone is in the same office. So while everyone is working from home, regular communication and even over-communication is vital. It is important for everyone to know what the expectations are, what tasks should be prioritized, how things are progressing and what their impact can be.
2. Create your office environment
Since the risk level in Canada is still considered to be low, we have allowed employees to go into the office and pick up the proper equipment they feel are necessary to work productively. Many of us are used to that second monitor or absolutely despise the trackpad and keyboard on our laptops, so allowing our people to replicate their work environment as much as possible can only help.
3. Keep your work routine
We are continuing with all previously scheduled meetings. Just because we aren’t in the office to meet face-to-face doesn’t mean it isn’t important to continue with our regular schedule.
4. Remain healthy! Don't forget to eat
We are fortunate enough to have a corporate chef that makes us breakfast every day. To ensure everyone continues receiving a healthy meal, our chef will be meal prepping each week. Healthy breakfast and lunch meals will be prepped, packaged and delivered to each member of the team at the start of the week. Although not all companies are lucky enough to have this perk, we feel it is important to ensure the workforce has everything they need to successfully transition to remote work.
5. Utilize proper communication tools
Transitioning to working from home will be a little easier for Showpass based on the fact that we had previously chosen to use great communication platforms: Google Hangouts and Slack. We will continue leveraging these apps by:
- having departmental stand-ups on Google Hangouts each morning to discuss the tasks of the day;
- setting up a virtual lunch on Google Hangouts so we can eat together and socialize as if we were in the office;
- using our Donut app on Slack. This app randomly pairs up colleagues and encourages them to go for coffee or lunch and get to know each other a little better. We want to encourage these meetups even more so, even if it takes place in a virtual environment; and
- setting up a Slack channel to provide updates on the health crisis and ensure communication is ongoing.
6. Have a central hub for the company
Utilizing our centralized data hub (powered by CODA) and having a location for one source of truth. A place where we can provide all updates, prioritize and assign tasks and be transparent about what everyone is working on.
7. Remind employees about our Employee Family Assistance Program
Understanding that our employees may feel anxious, stressed or isolated during this current pandemic and while working from home, it is essential to let our people know there are resources to help them.
Other tips on transitioning to working from home can include:
- Shower and get dressed as if you are going to the office. Don’t stay in your pajamas and expect yourself to be as productive.
- Set up a workspace. Not all of us have a dedicated office at home, but try to set up a space that doesn’t include being on the couch or in front of a TV. Also, don’t work from your bed. You will not be productive and could end up binging a Netflix show or falling asleep. Remember, the top distractions for people who work at home are TV and domestic tasks.
- Develop a structure and plan your day. This includes creating a routine for starting and stopping work.
- Take regular breaks to avoid burnout and make sure to take a lunch break.
- Communicate your availability by publishing your calendar so others can see it and understand your commitment. You can also toggle your Slack status to AFK (away from keyboard) if you need to step away or to Busy when you need to be heads-down on a project.
- Eliminate distractions, including family/roommates. Shut the door to give yourself some privacy and separation.
- Avoid loneliness by continuing to have personal contact with your team. This can include regular group meetings or having a virtual lunch.
- Ensure you set up a place for documentation to have a single source of truth. This can be a place where everyone can go to see the status of a task or project and just see what everyone is working on.
The current crisis will most likely create the largest opportunity for companies to test out working from home. Let’s embrace this opportunity by communicating with and trusting our people, providing them with the right tools and ensure we help each other out during this unprecedented crisis.