Utilising a remote workforce, until recently, was at the discretion of the business owner. Some owners prefer face-to-face team collaboration while others leveraged technology enabling their teams to work remotely. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, many company owners have been faced with some difficult social distancing decisions impacting their company and employees. Changes in work spaces has resulted in some significant conversations to address the most effective ways to maintain a productive, sustainable business.
Time plays a critical factor
There’s little point discussing contingency planning when the building is on fire. Ideally, to thinking and preparing ahead will determine how teams can handle different emergencies. Details typically vary from case to case, however establishing a framework encouraging employees to work from home is often a good start. If employees are required to be in the workplace, consider an alternate scheduling to reinforce social distancing.
If there is a crisis without planning correctly, there are steps you can implement during the transition including:
1. Facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing
Working in a new environment may strain the teams’ ability to work together cohesively and the company. While social distancing reduces the benefits of in-person interaction, employee communities ensure collaboration remains strong, regardless of desperation.
Enable employees to locate and collaborate with one another
When people are forced to work remotely, one of the critical adjustments is the inability to simply walk over to a colleague to enter a face-to-face discussion. A digital workspace assists create a Member Directory, streamlining the organisation’s process of finding information or identifying subject matter co-worker experts. If your teams need to get in touch with their colleagues, without these face-to-face interactions, user profiles assist workers find the right contact details to directly communicate with their colleagues.
Facilitate public and private conversations
Working from home may be unfamiliar to your employees. While there are good practices to ease this transition, direct input from your teams will help create a positive experience that translates into company continuity. Digital work spaces unlock several feedback channels enabling to capture, listen and act based on employee suggestions.
2. Avoid communication overload
Maintaining official, consistent contact with workers can be challenging if it is not a regular procedure enforced by your organisation. Blast emails and more conventional location-based communication mechanisms are unreliable and do not measure up to the sheer volume of information demanded by your teams. Email repetition may lead employees to simply tune out of these communications, resulting in a lack of leadership and workplace alignment.
Providing workers with a workspace that serves as an authoritative source of information minimises ambiguity and maximises scope. Transparent collaboration and knowledge exchange beyond the conventional siloed email method has been shown to significantly increase efficiency. Knowledge is searchable, reference-able, and shareable.
Provide regular corporate communications
Typically, employees working remotely are likely to seek more information than required in their traditional work situations. Leaders are expected to have a clear level of contact on company strategies, status reports, and other operational shifts.
3. Maintaining relationships and strengthening culture
Leaving the workplace may result in employees seeking greater human contact. Effective leadership is cultivating a company culture ensuring workers can work efficiently and satisfactorily in isolation. A community-based workplace ensures an organisation can maintain close relationships, albeit digitally.
Evoke a feeling of fun
Maintaining enjoyable working aspects the company promotes is critical to heighten employee morale and connectivity when working remotely. Virtual happy hours enable people to share personal conversations in relaxed setting, and provide friendly, conducive competition built directly into your community. Systems introduced that grant employee’s points and issue certificates to be exchanged for prizes to encourage continued colleague interaction.
Now is the time to adopt remote working and improve personal working relationships whilst cultivating a sense of well-being, sincere concern for one another and heightened morale. Collectively these can lead to a more productive community and integrated workforce.
How do you remain linked with your colleagues while working from home? Why should a company promote organisational culture whilst social distancing? Please share your tips and insights enabling us to learn together.