Well, who could have envisaged this just a few months ago? From a troubling whisper to a full-blown pandemic in a matter of weeks, the Corona Virus has taken us all by surprise. Almost overnight, the nation’s workforce has gone from predominantly office-based to home-based with very little warning or preparation. A recent survey by the business school INSEAD found that only ‘about 50 per cent agreed that their manager was supporting their remote working effectively’. So we thought we’d pass on some wisdom we’ve acquired from our customers over the years to help you navigate the New Now.
Keep in touch – but not too much! ‘Trust your employees’ is the takeaway message here. The same INSEAD survey found that almost 80% of employees thought their productivity was the same or better (this latter, 40% of those surveyed), so most definitely don’t need twice-daily Zoom conferences or bombarding with messages to make sure they’re on task. A quick daily push notification at a set time (first thing in the morning, for example) on the Schoop app ensures that tasks are allocated succinctly in a streamlined manner without interruption to anyone’s workflow. Discuss with your team what’s best for them and stick to it. No-one needs frequent interruptions from a micro-managing team leader. Home-workers are generally able to accomplish more in a shorter time for just this reason – distractions interrupt flow and concentration.
Remote workers are still part of a team Companies with remote workers have long realised that a significant issue with a decentralised workforce is maintaining the team spirit easily engendered in an office environment. Reinforcing company goals and missions can help remind everyone they’re part of a team. Compiling company newsletters may not be seen as a priority in these times, however, they can be used to great effect in the time of lockdown. Putting together a newsletter with the latest HR updates and colleague news, while reminding everyone that the situation is temporary, can be a great morale-booster. Schoop’s News and Engagement feature is also video-enabled, so why not get a tech-whizz to edit together some clips of some of the funniest moments from team video conferences, or even a colleague telling jokes. We can’t gather around the water-cooler sharing stories, but light-hearted moments remind us that we’re all in this together.
Check-in on mental health Newly home-based workers are luckily supported by a wealth of technology to enable communication. These methods tend to be active, though, so that already sociable, outgoing team members benefit most from a video call or keeping in contact via direct messages. Not everyone feels comfortable with these methods, however. It is these team members who can slip through the cracks, feeling demoralised, losing motivation and subsequently turning in sub-optimal work. Forms and surveys are useful to take the pulse of your workforce, how they are coping with the new working environment generally, while individual questionnaires can help to identify those who may be struggling or requiring support. These are weird times and we all react differently. Ensuring everyone gets the support they need is perhaps even more important now than it ever was.
Finally, it’s important to note that home-working is not the same as working in the office. Especially in these times when schools are closed and there may be young children (or animals!) who need supervision. One of the great benefits of homeworking is flexibility, so don’t focus too much on office hours but on results. As long as work is getting done when it is due without affecting the whole team, it shouldn’t matter if someone wasn’t at their desk from 9am – 5pm, and insisting that someone is sat in front of their computer first thing every morning could come across as pedantic and nit-picking.
Times have changed, who knows how long this will last or the effect it will have on work conditions in the future, but Schoop’s here to help and remind everyone that we’re all in this together!
Schoop’s secure communications app is already trusted by organisations such as SONY, Public Health Wales and General Dynamics. Indeed, our newest customer, global medical device company Zimmer Biomet, was already considering Schoop when the Covid19 crisis hit. They immediately turned to us for help after realising they needed a secure, simplified and efficient method of communicating with their newly home-bound workers.
If you’d like more information on how we can help you engage your home-working employees, please click below: