COVID-19 has created a new work from home culture around the globe. This has created many new experiences for both employees and employers.
This new work from home culture is something that many employers are considering implementing as part of flexible work arrangement post COVID-19 if this period is successful. The time spent commuting, the flexibility, the less resources used and less overheads are all reasons why a remote work force can help businesses flourish.
But it doesn’t come without its challenges. Technology can either make or break the success of a business when trying to work remotely.
The technical stuff – for employers
While working from home is new for many employees it is also a new experience for most employers too. The good news is there are some tips that will make it a little easier.
Getting the most out of your technology
If you are not satisfied with your current software, systems, communication tools or technology, ask for help. The most cost effective way to do this is through an outsourcing company that is proficient with your industries software. Choosing to outsource can reap a lot of benefits – with technology being a big part of this. Basically, it opens the resources for you to get the most out of your current software or design new technology for your business. Each industry uses different software so you want to go with someone who knows your industry inside and out.
Project management platforms
Most businesses already use a project management platform. However, these project management platforms take on a new level of importance when working from home. These platforms allow both employees and employers to stay on top of different plans and the workload of each employee.
Instant communication Tools
Instant chat functions are a great way to ensure your employees are staying well connected with their team members. Communication is vital in any workplace and therefor using a program or application that allows for instant communication will ensure your employees feel connected.
Scrolling through email threads to find the latest version of a document is time consuming and inefficient. Web-based word documents, spreadsheets and presentations can make things much easier and more efficient. Different options such as Google Docs, Dropbox Paper and SharePoint allow multiple users to share and edit the same document at the same time.
This is option that can continue to be used throughout your organisation for both working from home and working in the office. Not only are shared documents more efficient, but they are more environmentally friendly as you don’t have to unnecessarily hand out printed copies of work – everything can be done online.
Video calling services
There are many software’s and applications that businesses already use but aren’t using to their full potential. For example, businesses that have access to Microsoft teams can use the video and conference call function. This can be used internally as well as externally. These functions may not be something you have thought about using in the office previously, however, they are something many businesses are now using daily.
Alternatively, there are many other video conferencing software that can easily be implemented into your business. Zoom is a very popular choice for many businesses during the pandemic. It is best to steer away from traditional conference calls that are voice only and ensure you choose a service that allows for video to be incorporated.
The Basics – For Employees
Working from home requires some basic devices that you will need to work remotely.
In 2020 nearly all jobs will require a computer or laptop to work at home. Many people are used to working with two computer screens in the office. Therefore, if possible, you should try to create the same set up whilst working from home. This will ensure you can maintain the same efficiency levels as you would in the office.
One of the most important things you will need is a fast and reliable internet connection. There aren’t too many jobs or tasks where you won’t need to use the internet!
To avoid endless emails back and forth between you and your colleagues and you and your clients, it is important that you have a phone that has good reception available. Diverting your office phone to your mobile is an essential step to ensure your clients can easily reach you.
If you are hosting meetings it is important that you have a web cam to ensure your clients and colleagues feel connected. This basic device will create a significant difference both internally and externally. Most laptops and smart phones will have built in cameras that can easily be turned on during meetings, often this is automatic.
Be Ready for Surprises
Working from home is new to many employers and employees. With the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were given an extremely short time frame to organise a solid plan and test working from home and the many challenges that come with it.
Therefore, it is important to be ready for surprises and work on them to improve.
You may find that your internet connection drops out just before an important teleconference or your computer crashes right before your board report is due. While these situations are not ideal, they often cannot be avoided. It is important to fix any issues that do arise and come up with a plan B for when these instances do occur.
Employers and Employees may also be surprised in a positive way. Some businesses have found employees are more productive at home and have started to look at ways working from home can be implemented in their business on a more permanent basis.
As working from home becomes a necessary reality for more businesses, the transition can be made easily by using technology to your advantage.