As we all work to slow the spread and protect our communities, employees, families and ourselves against COVID-19, it’s likely as a small business your team may be working completely remote for the first time. At WorkLodge, we work with entrepreneurs and small businesses daily and along the way have watched them work through all types of situations, often times with limited resources. We’ve picked up a few tricks along the way, and also take pride in the resources we pass along to our Lodgers on a daily basis. Keep reading for WorkLodge’s top 5 tips for navigating remote work as a small business.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your tech questions or office administration needs. Our team is local, and we are committed to working together to get through these challenging times. Be safe, and know we are here to support you and your business.
1. Set Expectations, Adjust Accordingly
The most important thing you can do as a leader heading into uncharted territory is to set expectations. Share your thoughts on how work will be executed and request feedback to identify hurdles your employee’s may be experiencing. It’s likely that work will not flow exactly as it does in the office and it’s important as a leader to set standards that make sense for business performance while being sensitive to the current situation. Also discuss how items like PTO and personal schedule conflicts will be addressed.
2. Maintain a Schedule
Having a schedule helps provide structure in otherwise uncertain times and helps ease the transition from an office environment to working from home. Whether its Monday morning team meetings or Thursday round-table updates, continuing the consistency will keep business on track in the interim and also assist with a smoother transition when everyone is back in the office.
3. Encourage Setting Up Dedicated Space
While the idea of working from the couch in our PJ’s is appealing, studies show having dedicated work space as a remote worker is most conducive to success. Encourage employees to map out a space in their home for working hours. While not every employee will have a home office set up, even carving out space at one end of the dining table as dedicated work space can help with productivity and work/personal life transitions while your employees are working from home. Having a dedicated space also enables employees to ‘leave’ their office space at the end of the day, even if that ‘office’ doesn’t have four walls and a door.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When we don’t share physical space, it’s easy to get busy doing the work and forget to keep lines of communication open, much less continue building your organizations culture. We are lucky that in today’s digital age we have an abundance of communication tools at our finger tips, many that are already free or are currently offering free and reduced fees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reaching employees where they are at can be and should be done with a variety of different mechanisms. Use Yammer or Slack for quick updates across the company or with individual teams, and incorporate daily or weekly video conferencing in for real-time connection and conversations. Each company’s frequency and desired mechanisms for communication will differ. Try out different engagement strategies with your teams and get buy in on what they feel is working and just as importantly, what isn’t.
5. Encourage Healthy Habits
Now more than ever, employees’ mental and physical well-being may be taxed as we all face uncertain times. It’s important as leaders to encourage team members to prioritize their health. Lead by example by scheduling 5 minute stretching sessions at the top of each hour, or encourage employees to build in an extra 30 minutes to their lunch hour for a walk around their neighborhood. Business during these times isn’t going to look like it normally does. Stay flexible to meet the needs of the situation we are in and encourage intentional healthy habits and work/life balance. You never know, you just might start a trend you can all take back to the office.