If necessity is the mother of invention, then COVID-19 may be the mother of a new era in the workforce. With limitations on group gatherings, school closures, and travel bans, many businesses are trying to do their part to practice social distancing and limit the spread of the virus. That means many employees and employers are forced to work remotely, with no concrete idea of when they'll head back to the office. For some, this is a welcome change. For others, it may sound like a nightmare.
As a general rule, humans aren't fans of change, and there's no doubt that many people are feeling uncertain and anxious about the many changes happening in the world right now. Employers have to work quickly to provide a sense of stability for their people who are facing a sudden remote reality. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help the team adjust. It won't be quite business-as-usual, but you can acclimate quickly with the right communication strategy and digital tools.
Have a Plan (Or Make One, Fast)
For the past decade, Voicebrook has placed a premium on functioning remotely. These days, approximately 85 percent of our people work from home full-time, and everyone on the team is remote-capable.
Communication is Key
Trust Your People
Trust your people to do their jobs. Remote work is miserable for the micromanaging boss, and miserable for the people reporting to him or her. Embrace the idea of asynchronous communication, when you send a message without expecting an immediate response. Give employees a little more control over their time and when they work. Studies show it results in more productive work and happier people. Sure, mix in synchronous communication where it makes sense, but be willing to be flexible.
We suspect this may be a real watershed moment for the remote work movement. What happens now during the COVID-19 outbreak may well determine if the practice is adopted more widely in the long-term. It can be a challenge to implement a remote work system quickly, but Voicebrook is a testament to the value of the practice. Our people are happy, our business is thriving, and our customers are satisfied.
"There's something to be said about our 'agility' as it relates to how we're set up," says Carreira. "Especially in times like this, when so many companies are scrambling to dust off their business continuity plans, we are glad to already have remote capabilities in place with no physical location dependency."
So give remote operations your best shot while you have the chance. At minimum, you can walk away with the knowledge that being remote-capable is another great tool for the company toolbox... just in case.