The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, and also the way we work. Just a short time ago, working from home was considered a luxury, but now it has become a necessity for many. While working from home has its advantages, it comes with several challenges, especially for small business owners.
Buffer recently released a study detailing the key challenges while working remotely. The challenges include loneliness, distractions, and difficulty unplugging from work. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are some key ways that small businesses can excel while pivoting to remote work.
Prepare and Set Expectations
To most people, working from home sounds like a utopia. But without the right framework, remote work can cause productivity to dwindle over time. That’s why you should approach remote work cautiously and with a plan.
For starters, have a remote work policy or guideline that outlines the critical aspects of working from home. It should be comprehensive and address some thematic areas including:
- Who can work remotely
- Necessary equipment
- Working hours
This will help workers understand what is expected of them, and where they can go for help. Be hands-on and involved in the transition to working from home. For example, you recommend the right equipment for their home office and help your employees in acquiring it.
Take Advantage of Software
It’s virtually impossible to work remotely without taking advantage of some necessary online tools, software, and apps. It’s no wonder video conferencing software programs such as Zoom experienced a boom in the midst of the pandemic. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the best software for remote working.
Video Conferencing Software: These tools are important for conducting team meetings, webinars, and teleconferences. Some of the best options are Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Sending and Sharing Files: You can share files using tools like Dropbox and Google Drive. Another great way to facilitate important communication is to send fax online.
Note-Taking Apps: These tools help you keep important records. The best options include Evernote and Onenote.
Time Tracking Tools: Tools like Toggl, Everhour, and Harvest help to ramp up productivity.
Encourage and Schedule Breaks
Taking breaks while working from home is a surefire way to increase productivity. Sitting and staring at a screen for hours on end takes a toll on the mind and body. That’s why it’s important to take a break every so often and refresh your mind. Breaks give you an energy boost and renewed focus. You’ll be more creative and alert after a well-deserved break. Encourage your team members to ask for a time-out if they are feeling overwhelmed while working from home. Even though they are not in the office, they should still have time allotted for days off, holidays and vacations.
Provide a Support System
Your workers will need time to get used to working from home. Make room for errors and mishaps along the way as everyone adapts to the new norm. An excellent support system will help your employees ease into remote work, as they will be able to access necessary resources when they need them. Put together a system that will help your workers in all aspects of their work. For instance, IT personnel can help workers figure out how to use new software, while HR personnel can be available to address any concerns workers have while working.
Remote work is the new normal and workers are adapting accordingly all around the world. While working from home presents several benefits to businesses, it is not without its challenges. These tips will help you transition your team to working from home more effectively, to ensure the continued success of your company.