Not every position can be filled by remote work. For instance, a cook can’t prepare an order for a restaurant from his couch. However, with modern telecommunication technology, many offices can function appropriately under these extraordinary circumstances. Filesharing allows teams to easily collaborate on projects. Communication software provide a reasonable facsimile of a face-to-face meeting. VPN technology makes your computer think it’s at the office.
However, there’s a very human element to working together that can’t be overlooked. Even though there might be no real barriers from a technology standpoint, converting to a work-from-home culture does require some adjustment. Let’s have a look at some.
Keep In Touch With Your Team
If your coworkers aren’t at the next desk over from you, you will want to keep an open channel of communication to them so that minor matters can be quickly resolved without delay. Fortunately this is easy to accomplish.
For instance, many of our clients use Microsoft Teams, a collaboration software suite that greatly facilitates communication between individuals and within groups. You can message several people at once in one window, and hold a private conversation between yourself and one of those group members in another. You can also attach files to groups for collaborative efforts, add links to Sharepoint sites, and so on.
If you’re going to lunch, or even just need to take a short break, let your coworkers know that you won’t be at your keyboard for awhile. When you return, let them know as well. This will let the team know if you’re available to handle simple matters, or if they should consult someone else for immediate help.
It’s also good to be a bit more chatty than you might normally be in terms of your workload. If you’re going to start on a project that will take up most of your attention for awhile, let them know. If you share calendars in Outlook or another program, be sure to block off any time that you require for it. The more your team knows, the more efficiently it can function.
Find Out What’s Really Important
A unique situation like this one is a good time to evaluate existing business processes with a fresh pair of eyes. It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of holding an unproductive morning meeting without thinking about whether it’s useful or not. However, a break in routine is the perfect opportunity to have a look at that meeting and considering shortening or eliminating it.
Another example would be a type of task that can’t be performed from home – perhaps, printing and storing some regular documentation. Is there a legal requirement to store these documents physically? Is it possible to exclusively save them electronically in the cloud or in network-attached storage? If you find that you’re getting by without doing something you’ve always done, perhaps it just wasn’t all that necessary after all.
Now is a good time for your business to discover ways it can reach customers at home that it wasn’t trying before. For instance, many restaurants were shut down recently. In some cases, there was simply no alternative – a restaurant offering a fine dining experience would prefer not to put an expensive steak dinner into a Styrofoam box for delivery.
However, many other restaurants updated their menus with delivery-friendly options, signed up with delivery services such as Uber Eats, and operated as a remote kitchen rather than as a sit-down restaurant. Fortunately for hungry home-based customers, the flexibility of traditional restaurants now offering delivery gave them many more options than just pizza and kebab.
Again, this might not apply to your company for one reason or another. But it’s worth giving it some thought. After all, necessity is the mother of invention. If your company can invent a worthwhile way to court and serve customers without them having to come into your office, you might find your business stronger coming out of a crisis than it was going in.