Coronavirus is accelerating the ‘Work from Home‘ trend. According to our Modern Workplace 2019 report, 41 percent of employers now offer some form of remote working, and we expect that figure to be even higher in our next report due to be released in April
Remote working technology has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years. This means that even in the midst of a global crisis, businesses can carry on productively with limited impact in a secure and collaborative way. Threats to business come from many areas. Companies that are using technology to maximize their productivity already, including web based applications to handle internal & external processes like Helpdesks, HR Automation Systems, CRMs, Virtual meeting rooms, Remote working tools etc will be able to ride out the crisis relatively unscathed.
For those who are new to working from home, below some tips from thriving CEOs and CHROs.
Apply the ROWE mindset.
ROWE stands for “results-only work environment. Many remote organisations encourage it because it helps remove concerns managers may have around employee productivity. We don’t need to track hours or care about how the employee is doing his or her work, as long as the results are coming in. By focusing on goals and metrics, the old-school idea of how much time was spent sitting at a desk quickly goes out the door.
Create a space & look the part
Please create a small spot at your home or where ever you stay, where you can work from. I think that is very important. It should look like a work area so that it looks appropriate when you have your video conference calls. And,when you are in this area family members know that you are off limits.
Always be accessible
Work from home gives your flexibility but that also comes with responsibility. It’s very critical while working from home to be available. Lots of calls happen, and it’s important that you are not seen as an employee who is not accessible.
It’s OK to mix work and life.
Some of the organisations that work remotely advocate the just go with the flow attitude.Try not to be too rigid with separating work life and home life. Don’t set schedules for Work timings and Home timings when working from home. Mix it up so that you can get the best of both. Relax in the afternoon after a gruelling few hours of work. Likewise work in the night if you feel more productive at that time. This goes hand in hand with ROWE where you have to be goal oriented and not time oriented.
Select and set up your tech, strategically.
Working at home can mean overlapping with other family members’ activities and schedules. Have multiple devices enabled with all of your work apps be it your laptop, desktop or mobile. This helps you be as flexible as possible. For complex and collaborative work, connect your laptop to a large monitor or TV so you can easily navigate between tools for videoconferencing, chatting, project management and whiteboarding. “Rely on your tablet or smartphone for quick tasks Zoom calls etc
Some of the tools that you can use include
Zoom / Clearone — for video conferencing
Slack — for chat
Miro — for ideation, strategy and project planning, central project hub, presentations
Google Suite — for collaborative spreadsheets, docs
Have fun with your colleagues.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. While working remotely enjoy some fun banter between colleugues. Just like at office joke around, pull eachothers legs, talk about fun and memorable moments in your life. Keeping up the fun element and improving the chemistry between teammates goes a long way in remote environments.
Transfer your commute time to intentional rest time.
You no longer have to wake up in the morning and stress about reaching work on time. Your morning commute time can be repurposed. Invest that time into either a relaxing ritual that gets you to a calm and clear state of mind or invest it into winding down your day.
Zero Based Calendar: Schedule downtime and distractions where possible
The key to being productive is planning your day. This means you budget every minute of your day to help you stay on track and monitor your progress. You don’t need to skip out on your favorite activities with a zero-based calendar, you just need to ensure you schedule them with a specific time block. This way you won’t push off the activities we enjoy due to a lack of time. By adding all tasks to your calendar with specific time blocks, you’ll start to become more aware of how long various tasks actually take. Having less ‘open space’ on your calendar can protect your free time and increase your productivity.
Tips for the Management
It’s very critical that we prepare ourselves. Everybody is told exactly how they are going to work. That becomes very very important. Which means putting schedules into place. There are certain platforms and processes that will need to be planned and deployed to enable efficient work from home. This can include VPN, escalation matrices, collaboration tools, remote support tools etc.
Communication in this whole process becomes very critical. How it is going to be beneficial for everyone? And how is business continuity going to be maintained? It’s important for the organisation to lay down clear guidelines about how the whole format is going to work.Confrence call schedules, what is expected during the meeting etc.
In the action phase, since we have begun working from home, it is important to keep in mind that the WFH model will affect many people differently. It is advised to check-in and gauge how the format is working out and make course corrections where necessary. This comes from constant touch points (conference calls) and feedback.