The world is currently responding to the spread of COVID-19. NYC, in particular, as of March 16th 2020, has implemented public gathering limits, required certain industries to close, and largely reduced operations at bars and restaurants. In light of such proactive measures, many organizations are reacting and navigating what it means to commit to the health and safety of their employees.
One of the implementations that we are seeing across the board is a movement to remote work in an effort to protect public health. While each organization’s culture is unique, adapting to an offsite model may provide new challenges to some. Below are some tips that may help during a circumstantial transition into remote work:
Schedule regular meetings to help with consistent interactions and reduce the feeling of being disconnected. It is generally easier to cancel scheduled meetings vs. finding time last minute.
Get familiar with the workspaces of each staff member. This helps to make sense of the situational (not behavioral) factors in play. For example, somebody with children vs. somebody who lives on the 2nd floor and has street noise.
Have a conversation with employees and have them make a list of the tasks that they are currently unable to complete from home/remotely, and seek to find a solution with support from their manager. This will help in mapping out skills, temporary processes, and capacity (as a result of a potentially shifted workload).
Have managers set clear goals and expectations with their staff, while it is good to always reiterate organizational objectives and their individual roles/contributions, disruptive events (like COVID-19) generally produce new and compelling tasks.
Strive to maintain a schedule (e.g. 9-5). When there is not a clear delineation between personal life and work in such an environment, employees can end up feeling burnt out or lethargic.
Encourage staff to keep their calendars/schedules as updated as possible.
Ensure that the technology and hardware is updated - e.g. have everyone make sure that their laptops are healthy and fully operational.
Additionally, working outside of company servers can make one more susceptible to cyber-attacks. Remind employees to use their work devices for work only might be useful.
Encourage all staff to become more familiar with resources for remote communications available (e.g. video conferencing) or set up for your staff.
Communication is always a factor in high functioning teams, but it is more important than ever as we continue to maneuver through this time. Please find the capacity to connect and support with one another – we are in this together.
If you have any additional questions, comments, or tips that your organization has implemented, feel free to reach out and share with your HR resource.