Coronavirus is no longer a medical issue only. It is changing world economics and how companies run businesses too. Amid the fear of coronavirus outbreak and spreading schools, universities, cinemas, gyms, restaurants and other facilities are closing one after another. Many companies are asked or encouraged to implement work-from-home policies all around the world.
Based on the industry and daily operations, it is easier for some companies to have their employees working remotely than for others. Companies that work in the marketing or tech industries might have it easier than others. However, at times like this, even the businesses that had never considered to have remote employees are urged to send their staff home for working.
However, even the companies experienced in managing remote teams might find this sudden shift challenging. While working from home might sound comfortable for many people, it might not be as good as it sounds.
Thankfully, many tools and apps are readily available to make work-from-home easier and productive for companies of all sizes. We will discuss some of them in this article. We will also offer some tips, that will make working from home easier for those who are new to this concept. Considering them will also help those who have worked remotely before.
How to shift from office to working from home
When computers became readily available for the massive population, many predicted that soon people would no longer need to work in the offices. However, it did not happen so. While some companies have teams working for them remotely, there are very few companies that are 100% remote. Managing employees and conducting day-to-day operations is easier when your team is in the office. Hence, it is only natural that owners of companies are now worried about shifting to working from home.
How productive will it be? Will working from home damage my business? How should I manage the team from home? These are some of the topics you might be worrying about if you are considering implementing working from home policy. The good news is that working from home can be as productive as from the office, it will not damage your business, and there are plenty of tools and techniques that will help you manage your team.
However, before you send your employees for temporarily working from home, you need to follow a few steps.
Make an assessment of capabilities
Some companies can fully go home during the coronavirus work-from-home requirement. However, some of them might have operations that cannot be done from home. First thing you need to do is to determine what can be done from home and what needs a presence in the office. Based on it, you can make the list of employees who can work from home.
After you have done it, you should make an assessment of their capabilities. To work from home without interactions, your employees need to have a computer and a good internet connection. Determine which employees have an adequate computer and internet that is sufficient for work they have to do.
Once you have this information, you can determine what you need to purchase to provide equal and sufficient working environment for all your employees.
Prepare for working from home
The next step is to prepare technologically. All your employees need to have access to platforms, data and other information they need for work.
Managing it can be easier if you have a small team. However, if your company has hundreds of employees, you need to prepare a good plan for it.
Prepare access points based on your teams and their work. Some departments might not need it. While for some, it might be crucial for work. Determine which teams and employees need to have access to what. Create access points and make sure that your employees have everything they need for working productively.
Test remote access and work
Once your employees have set up their working stations at home and get access to your company platforms and data, they can start working from home. However, it does not mean you are all set. Test remote access and make sure everything is working just fine.
The first week of working from home during coronavirus can be a test week for you. After it, make assessment once again. If your team is small, you can have a meeting when the first week is over. Otherwise, if you have a lot of employees you can conduct a survey. It will help you determine if your employees have all they need for productive work and optimize it if they lack something.
Tools you can use for working from home
Working from home means that you will have to communicate everything to your employees online. This includes distributing tasks, evaluating them, conducting meetings and doing paperwork. Thankfully there are plenty of tools and platforms that you can use for productive work.
Microsoft Teams is one of the great tools for collaboration and communications. You can use it for workplace chat between teams and employees. It also enables video meetings and has file storage. Microsoft Teams also has a live document collaboration feature. With it, you can have several members of the team working on the same document. In Microsoft Teams you can make different chat groups for different departments for efficient communication. You can also create and assign tasks. It is a very convenient and easy to use tool that can make your working from home experience better.
Slack is a communication platform where you can create channels for your teams. You can send and receive documents and communicate with all your employees. It also allows voice and video calls. You can use Slack for all your team and have groups for each department.
Zoom is a great choice for bigger companies with more employees. The platform is for video meetings and conferences. You can use Zoom for longer video meetings such as webinars and conferences. It is a great tool for company updates too. While working from home during coronavirus Zoom will help you communicate with all your employees at once effectively.
Trello is a great platform for task management. You can create several boards for different projects or departments. Managers can assign tasks to the employees and track the performance. It is a great tool to create tasks, manage projects, track and organize everything. Trello will help you manage what your employees do. It will also help employees know what they have to do and when without having to communicate directly to the managers.
How to work from home
Your company might be ready for working from home, but your employees might not. While the idea of working from home seems to be good, not many people can adapt to it. Most of the people are trained for working in the office. Working from home, where one has a lot of distractions can be hard. However, some tips will help you and your team members work from home effectively.
Stick to your work schedule
Most of the people need to travel at least 30 minutes to get to the office. Waking up and getting ready for work also takes some time. Now when you are working from home you suddenly have one or two hours vacated. While the temptation to sleep more is great, it is not a good idea to spend this time sleeping.
Sticking to your previous office work schedule will help you stay productive. Try waking up the same time as you always did and use the extra hour you have for a nice breakfast. It will increase your mood and your brain will have enough time to get ready for work.
Organize your working desk
Working from home seems to be very comfortable. You can sit on a couch or at a dinner table and work as you like. However, it is not such a good idea. To be as productive as at the office, you need to organize your working desk and work from there. Setting up your work desk will create a working atmosphere and help you stay focused.
Take a lunch break
Sticking to your working schedule also means taking lunch breaks as you did in your office. You can take this time to prepare a delicious, healthy meal. It will also help you take your mind off of the work and have a good rest.
Stay in touch
You might have to distance yourself from your co-workers and friends while working from home during coronavirus outbreak. It can be hard, especially for people who love communicating with others. After all, we are social animals, who need to communicate with each other. Working from home does not mean completely isolated from the outer world. Stay in touch with your teammates via calls or chats. It will help you to not feel alone while working and will boost your mood.
Do not work overtime
It is easy to work overtime when working from home, especially for so-called workaholics. You do not have to go anywhere after work, so it is easy to stay at your working desk and continue work “just to finish this one task.” Working overtime every day will soon exhaust you and you will not be able to stay productive. Finish working once working hours are over. Leave your working desk and take a good rest.