The remote WFH requirement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has officially become the new normal to facilitate social distancing around the world. Hundreds of thousands of people who up until recently had only ever worked inside an office are being forced by the rapid spread of the Coronavirus to suddenly start working from home.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear end to this predicament just yet. In effect, it might be that remote WFH may be the future of work as we know it. Your managers and employees should keep in mind our key tips that will make this potentially uncomfortable situation a much more pleasant and productive experience for your entire company, which is why we’re back to explain how to improve the WFH experience during week two.
1. Keeping it real: WFH isn’t like working from the office
The good news is that it’s technically possible to ensure that everyone in your company has the proper accessories, apps, data, and bandwidth to facilitate virtual collaboration. Thing is, WFH can make it much more difficult to strike that crucial balance between work and the rest of our lives. It’s also important to understand that WFH during regular hours, regardless of a pandemic crisis, doesn’t mean that employees should stay in their homes without activities. Working from home doesn’t mean your whole life is just work 24/7.
That’s why our managers and their teams choose to lead with transparency from the get-go about which tasks can and can’t be realistically accomplished from home. Once these lists and expectations had been hashed out, everyone WFH felt better and was able to focus on what’s doable.
2. Getting clear on expectations asap
While a degree of flexibility is important in running remote teams, our managers still needed to establish clear performance benchmarks, boundaries, and guidelines. Even before COVID-19 swept the world, close to 50% of all Americans didn’t know what was expected of them at work. That sad scenario is bound to get much worse for people suddenly told to work from home without proper guidance.
To keep our people working from the same playbook, our managers gave their team members a healthy sense of perspective about how their work connects to wider organizational goals during standups and in one-on-one meetings. Plus, Hibob managers regularly remind their team members, in as much detail as possible, how valuable they really are.
3. Obsess over keeping communication lines open
WFH can only work if managers communicate effectively with the people they’re managing. Otherwise, your managers and their teams are likely to be tripped up by misunderstandings, mixed signals, and unclear plans of action.
To avoid this, our remote teams document project ideas and next steps as much as possible, in their own to-do lists, over email, and on Asana projects and tasks. This creates a communication trail that can be referred to as needed. Beyond documenting, our people working remotely are now encouraged and empowered to disseminate information as quickly as possible. Slack and other digital tools play a crucial role in our remote environment and culture.
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4. Pace yourself
Working in an office with colleagues, formal meetings, and watercooler chatter creates a needed sense of structure. But with office life no longer acting as a compass, WFH can quickly throw people off their game. Hibob managers and employees working remotely take extra care when regulating their days by hitting “pause” every hour to get up, move around, have a drink of water, and go out for a walk around the block.
Pacing ourselves also means knowing exactly when to schedule and complete which tasks. Tasks that require peak performance are best completed in the morning, administrative and less demanding tasks are best left for the midday dip, and brainstorming tasks we leave for the afternoon – especially when connected when coworkers at other sites around the globe.
WFH in an age of social distancing…
The novel coronavirus outbreak has catalyzed a seachange in the way organizations are run. The good news is that WFH is a trend that’s been building up steam for several years. After the initial shock and uncertainty that comes with having to suddenly ramp up your company’s digital environment, it will ultimately benefit greatly from the shift to WFH.
More and more of today’s workers are demanding greater freedom to organize their day, work, and lives as they see fit. Your company now has the opportunity to turn the Corona crisis into an opportunity to better connect with your people’s evolving needs to strike that perfect balance between work and life.