Imagine: starting tomorrow, your entire organization, across all sites, has to start working from home. That might not be the case—at least not yet. But as COVID-19 spreads, more and more office-based organizations are embracing WFH as the solution.
Whether you have teammates under mandatory quarantine or taking care of loved ones, you want to take extra precautions, or you’ve been forced to close your offices to follow government protocol, switching to a fully- or partially-remote model isn’t simple. It is, however, doable. We’ve put together some tips for how to manage the switch as an HR admin, and to help you support your team during a confusing (and scary) time.
- Start with a dry run. We recommend staying ahead of the curve by implementing a “dry run” for your WFH policy. Encouraging employees to stay home for one day will help you smooth out any kinks in your processes and streamline any potential major transitions in the future.
- Offer training for people managers. We’re all adapting to this new COVID-19 reality as it’s happening. Take the time to sit with people managers and explain new protocols to them so they can best support their teammates. This will both take some pressure off of you and help make sure that all employees are getting the same information, with you and your team acting as a single source of truth.
- Get aligned on communication platforms. Are all of your employees set up with accounts for all of your preferred communication platforms? Make sure your people know what systems and applications they should have access to and who they should reach out to for account setup on different platforms.
- Communicate clear policies. Stay aligned on online expectations. Will your hours be the same as in-office? Do employees need to be available on chat apps? Make it clear how employees should be logging their online hours, sick time, etc.
- Address employee travel. If there are changes to travel policies, events, conferences, etc, make sure employees know what to expect as soon as possible.
- Establish company-wide online protocols. For example, do you expect people to update their Slack status when they’re away from their desks? Do your people know how to add video call links to calendar invites?
- Set employees up for success. Make a checklist for employees to know what they’ll need for successful WFH, from hardware (laptop charger, for example) to a strong WiFi connection.
- Keep your culture alive. Do you have any office traditions, like an end-of-week happy hour? To keep your employees aligned and engaged, we recommend setting up remote hangouts, where everyone can get together on video chat. Same goes for keeping your tribes active. Do you have a yoga club? Maybe pick a YouTube yoga workout for everyone to do together!
- Be sensitive to your employees. Do you have employees who are unwell or taking care of loved ones? We recommend checking in on them to make sure they have everything they need to perform well—and, of course, stay healthy.
While it feels like the world is spinning faster than usual, you can take this as a time to re-evaluate your culture. Unite your team with compassion and empathy. Take care of each other, and remember: this is the new normal for now, but it won’t be forever. Oh, and wash your hands with antibacterial soap for 20 seconds multiple times per day. It helps.
We’ve put together a guide including tips for employees and people managers.