It’s shocking how quickly things can change. Over the past couple of weeks, employees across the world have seen their work arrangements shift from in-office to completely remote. Almost overnight, workers were required to set up multiple home office spaces along with a spot for e-learning for their children who will be completing the school year from home.
Such mandates are testing workplaces and their employees in a variety of ways. In response, businesses are having to work with IT counterparts to adjust to the new reality of remote work. This includes quickly updating outdated networks, equipping more workers with laptops for remote access and testing the limits of virtual private networks (VPN). While work from home is becoming the norm for a growing number of workers, remote work in the face of mandated shutdowns of all non-essential businesses may leave many workers feeling isolated.
The practically overnight shift means workers must convert from in-person conversations to relying on audio and video conferencing meetings from home. For some employees, remote work is business as usual. For others, this may be the first time they’ve been asked to work from home in any capacity. As government mandates to self-quarantine for weeks at a time become more inclusive across the U.S., businesses and citizens are left wondering what might be next.
With entire workplaces shifting to online, it’s more important than ever to build in additional measures to emphasize connection in the workplace. For some, this means picking up the phone more often. Voice conversations are extra welcome in times of isolation and can be a more accurate gauge of a person’s mood and emotion. Intuiting challenges sooner rather than later can boost productivity and morale while reducing stress and missed deadlines caused by communication gaps.
Best Practices for Staying Productive from Home
- Schedule frequent and consistent check ins
- Maintain face-to-face and voice-to-voice contact through phone and/or audio chat
- Listen first to communicate trust and respect
- Over communicate with team members to model good behaviors
- State expectations clearly and ask questions
- Embrace technologies beyond phone and email
- Make time for online team-building, camaraderie and relationships
Learning and Connecting Online
LinkedIn recommends applying video conferencing tools to more than online meetings and check ins. This includes booking time for a virtual coffee break, an after-work happy hour or scheduled tours of an employee’s work-from-home space. No matter what the theme is, employees have a chance to talk about what’s going on in their world and share with their co-workers, no matter where they’re located.