How to pivot your team to work from home ASAP

COVID-19, Coronavirus…whatever you want to call it, it can’t be ignored. And it’s changed the way we work forever.

Working from home has been on the rise for years, but in light of this epidemic, it’s become a necessity. With so many employees sick, quarantined, or caring for loved ones, implementing work-from-home (WFH) protocols is a necessity.

Building WFH practices into an office-based team isn’t simple—especially when you have no time to waste. When done right, however, employees working from home can stay just as engaged and productive as they are in the office.

The best thing you can do to maintain your employee experience is to figure out what’s already working in the office day-to-day and keep that going. We’ve put together a list of best practices for you, people managers, and employees, so you can all stay safe—and productive—while the virus takes its course.

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What you, HR, can do right now

  • 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. The 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.

What people managers can do

  • Maintain the team spirit. The remote dynamic is very different from being in the office, especially when your whole team is distributed. Schedule daily standups (or even two, to open and close the day) to keep your team aligned on goals and progress.
  • Establish clear objectives. Make deliverables, expectations, and deadlines explicit and actionable. We recommend using project management tools and incorporating subtasks for every step in a project.
  • Be present for your people. It’s critical that your people feel supported by and connected to you. If you aren’t already having weekly 1:1 meetings with your team, this is a great time to start. Check out Radical Candor’s guide to running effective, inspiring 1:1 meetings.
  • Make your expectations known. Make sure your team is aligned on communication protocols. Do you expect them to be available on chat platforms all day, or are you okay with occasional check-ins? Do you prefer video calls, chat messages, or emails?
  • Set your team up for success. Do all of your people have what they need to work from home? Make sure everyone has a solid internet connection, a laptop (and charger), and a set of headphones. That’s all it takes!
  • Stay in touch. Use Bob’s Shoutouts features to share any team-wide announcements, so you know your team won’t miss anything important.

What teammates can do

  • No such thing as too many pings. Don’t be afraid to ping your teammates more than usual. When working remotely, it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. If you feel like something is getting lost in translation, a short video call might be the solution.
  • Stick to your work schedule. When you’re working from home, you’re still at work…just not in the office. Try and stay on a routine that’s close to your office routine; for example, if you usually eat lunch at 12 p.m., stick to that! You can even video chat your teammates to get that lunchtime roundup feeling.
  • Be open about your new schedule. If you have roommates or a partner, sync up with them about your new schedule. Let them know when you have calls, when you need quiet time, and when you’ll be signing off.
  • Establish a dress code. Working from home doesn’t mean pajamas and bedhead. To feel like you’re at work, dress the part. (Please wear pants, even if no one can see you.)
  • Pro tip: If your internet is funky on a video call, turn off your camera. That usually helps!

Working from home is a chance to reexamine your current workflows and practices. Taking the time to step back and build a new routine might help you develop a new approach to your work and how your team functions.

Work with Bob to keep your employees safe, engaged, and productive both in and out of the office. 

About Bob

Who’s Bob? HiBob helps many of the world’s fastest-growing companies keep their global workforce connected, engaged, and productive while working remotely.