The influence of cutting edge technologies in our professional and personal lives has been consistently on the rise over the past few years. Still, there are a few extraordinary events that completely transform the whole picture and Covid-19 is just that.
The novel Corona virus continues to wreak havoc with economies, businesses and of course, our personal lives at an unprecedented scale. In the wake of lockdowns of global proportions, work from home is the new norm rather than exception.
In this post, we will try to highlight the key challenges posed by a forced remote work scenario and how you can not only cope with this landmark change effectively, but also ensure productivity at the same time.
Change Your Perceptions
Let’s spare a moment and analyze how Covid-19 has transformed the workplace altogether. The epidemic has either brought your business to a screeching halt or you can still maintain mission critical functionality by working remotely.
Count yourselves among the lucky few if you or your organization fall in the latter category. The former clearly implies that you have either lost your job or risk losing it over the coming few weeks if the current level of restrictions still remain in place.
The moment you change your perception about the current remote work needs, you will most likely begin to see the glass half full, which is consoling for your mental, psychological and financial well being.
Also duly consider the fact that this is a global pandemic and not all of those affected by this calamity are lucky enough to receive government aid right at their doorsteps, whether it comes in the form of healthcare or finances.
Converge on an Efficient Platform
The foremost priority in setting yourself up for remote work is prospecting various online collaboration platforms and evaluating their pros n cons. The whole idea behind this effort is to arrive at a platform that fulfills all your needs.
The icing on the cake would be if the said platform’s base version is free of charge. This way, you can kick off without any financial commitment and if the platform grows on you, upgrading to the paid version can definitely be an option.
In selecting the platform, some key factors you need to consider are whether the said online collaboration app supports features like audio, video, file sharing, interactive chats and most importantly, smartphone integration.
Acclimatize each Member with the Platform
The thrust upon remote work scenario is taxing for us all. What can make this even worse is our inability to avail some key feature of an online collaboration tool that other team members are already using with ease.
It’s important that each team member is given a brief walk around of all the features and functionality of the tool so that once a virtual meeting or collaboration session kicks off, no member is frustratingly busy sorting things out instead of contributing.
Define Remote Work Vision
In these times of stress and uncertainty, it is imperative that a broad vision is laid down for the entire team and focus remains converged on mission critical operations. Each team member must know exactly what’s expected from them by the organization.
Re-Kindle Personal Connections
More responsibility here lies with the team leader but each member has to play the part. In a traditional setting, personal interactions are common place but the same cannot be true for online or virtual platforms.
Therefore, it’s important to interact with team members on a personal level, in addition to the work related issues. It’s always comforting to ask your team mates how they are holding up to the recent Corona crisis and remote work challenges.
Engage the Team
There are always few team members that may not be very vocal in virtual meetings but it by no means implies they are not competent or productive. So, when you observe as a team leader that some members are not contributing, seek their views yourself.
Often by doing so, you tend to break the ice be removing the initial hesitation a team member may feel in voicing an opinion or suggestion. It is also important that the view of each team member is duly respected, regardless of whether it’s adopted or not.
Most office environments now have automated mechanisms of tracking which employees showed up for work and at what time. The case with online or remote work is different. To instill a certain degree of formality, urge a culture of online attendance.
Use the Camera Too
As remote work takes place in an informal setting, mostly our homes, we tend to be very casual. While there is nothing wrong with that, don’t forget video conferencing every now and then. This way, you can make a session more engaging and also gauge body language.
Even in remote work scenarios, timelines and deadlines are equally important and can affect other organizational processes. It’s always good to inform all team members about the agenda for an upcoming virtual interaction so that every member comes prepared.
Secondly, it’s always good that each team member joins such online sessions on time by being punctual. To ensure that other online commitments of a team member are not affected, such virtual meetings should also conclude in time.
Define Team Goals
Remote work can be taxing for even the psychologically tough professionals. It is the feeling of forced confinement that tends to mess with the minds of many. To mitigate stress, work related milestones should be well defined for each team member.
Similarly, it’s important that reporting lines should be well defined to avoid any confusion. Lastly, matters such as reporting frequencies should be properly laid down so that progress of ongoing tasks and projects can be tracked in a structured way.
Focus on Personal Health
The way this recent pandemic has gripped the entire globe, it has caught even the cautious ones off guard. In this scenario, remote work just mitigates the overall risks posed by this contagious and deadly virus.
Maintain a regular interaction among all team members on how they are keeping themselves safe and protected in these times. It is also important that members share their personal experiences on how they are ensuring good physical and mental health.
In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work has become the norm rather than exception. Sadly, we cannot attach any timeline as to when things would return to normal. Therefore, it’s imperative that organizations and employees quickly brace this idea.
Sustained remote work will take its toll on employees sooner or later, especially when accompanied by forced confinement. The only way forward is to mitigate the eff