With more and more companies and government agencies either choosing to or being forced to work from home, I’m going to cover best practices for remote transitioning in a safe and practical way.
Change is almost never easy.
During a transition, you don’t want to cause unnecessary problems between your employees, disconnect with your audiences, or break the continuity in the workflow of your organization.
By keeping open communication, clear policy, safety precautions, proper use of technology, and being patient at the top of mind, you’ll be able to peacefully changeover to remote work.
Each of these steps will help ensure a switch with minimal headaches.
Set up Open Lines of Communication
Communication and setting up clear guidelines for how your teams will connect and interact with each other is crucial during a remote transition. In a remote situation, you’re no longer able to get the help that might have been sitting right next door or down the hall in a physical location.You’ll want to avoid workers not knowing what the preferred channel of communication is or not being able to reach who they need in a reasonable manner.
It’s also important to communicate with your audience and customers. You don’t want people to be confused, misled, or given outdated information that no longer applies to your current situation.
- Put up a sign for your physical storefront if you have one
- Change your voicemails and update your contact information
- Craft PR statements for former/potential clients on social media
- Direct people to the most convenient way for them to get in contact with support
- Set auto response for incoming emails so people know business has changed and let them know if you’re operating on low man status or cutting down on any services
Establish Clear Policies
Setting up a telecommuting policy with clear expectations is essential for making a remote transition as smooth as possible. Lack of guidance can result in additional friction between people on your teams during a time of change. People will be adjusting and you want to have the right structures in place so no one has to butt heads over things that weren’t made clear.
You also want to make sure you have a documented policy you can refer to for situations that are likely to arise in the future. By having policies in place beforehand, people can’t say they didn’t know, they weren’t informed, or that there’s no citation of any punitive measures that might be taken.
Policies establish a precedent.
Your telecommuting policy should include things like:
- Addressing tardiness, absence, and missed deadlines
- Procedures for communicating and collaborating on work
- Expectations for checking in or showing proof of work
- Right of use policies for any loaned equipment
You don’t want to contribute to the uncertainty by not laying out clear guidelines for people to follow.
Take Cybersecurity Precautions
With a transition to remote work also comes cybersecurity precautions. You don’t want to be the next company on the news that was a victim of hacking that results in fraud or sensitive data being compromised.
Some basic precautions you can take include:
- Make sure remote workers are set up on a VPN (virtual private network) with proper protection
- Add a cyber liability policy to your insurance. These types of policies cover things like computer hacks and breaches. They’re usually a cheap add on to a general liability policy.
- Make sure any computers employees use are password protected and physically secured in the home.
- Take advantage of password managers to store all logins across multiple accounts securely.
Integrating Systems and Technologies
When you transition to a work-from-home environment, integrating systems and technologies will be a primary factor in your success as an organization. People will already be dealing with personal and lifestyle changes, routine changes, and a change in their physical work environment, so you want to make the use of technology as simple and easy as possible. Make sure people have the proper technical support and training available on any systems they’ll be using.
Some recommended collaboration tools for remote workers are:
Google Drive – Google Drive is a powerful document and file storage tool with simple options for collaborative efforts. You can have multiple people work on things like spreadsheets and word documents at once with multiple levels of permission. Plus you can work in it directly out of virtually any internet browser.
Slack – Slack is a great direct chat app for quick communication that allows you to communicate one on one and in groups or teams. You can send and share images, files, links, and other data through Slack as well. Great for short messages and back and forth communication that doesn’t require an email.
Zoom – Zoom is a tool that’s used for video conferencing. You can do one on one video chats as well as have multiple people on a single video conference. There’s screen sharing, recording, and dial in by phone options for when you or your team need to communicate internally or with customers/vendors.
Project Management Tool – There are many project management tools on the market. The purposes of utilizing a Project Management Tools is to increase accountability, assist with meeting deadlines and help make team goals more clear. Some of our personal favorite project management tools are Asana and Teamwork.
Don’t Forget the Human Element
When people are dealing with change and uncertainty, try your best to be more understanding. It will take time for some people to adjust to a new way of doing things. Understand it’s going to take more effort for some employees to feel connected and included. Give people time to adjust, make sure they have ample support and all the assistance they need, and exercise patience.
Don’t forget that you want to empower the workers in your organization and continue serving your customers.
All the systems, technology and policies you put in place don’t matter without the people behind them.
Moving from a brick and mortar or traditional work setting to a work-from-home environment can be a daunting task. But if you follow the right steps you can successfully do it in a safe and practical way.
- Set up open lines of communication
- Establish clear policies
- Take the right cyber precautions
- Integrate your systems and technology
- Don’t forget the human element
During a remote transition, your main priorities are to secure your business operations, secure the personnel running your business, and staying accessible and connected with your audience and customers.
Need additional assistance with transitioning your staff to remote working? WeAssist is offering free 15-minute consultations to give additional strategy and help answer any questions you may have on remote transitioning. WeAssist has managed remote teams and worked with over 20 businesses remotely. Click here to schedule your free remote transition consultation.
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