Are You Ready for Your Team to Work From Home?
The threat of the current CoronaVirus, now called COVID-19, is forcing all sizes of business to consider sending team members home to work. Today NBC News reports that a “State of Emergency” has been declared in Los Angeles county over the coronavirus outbreak (see video here). Travel restrictions, the general fear of travel, and the cancellation of major events is forcing us all to prepare. Recently trending news stories have emphasized the fear by showing people stocking up on necessities. Some Costco stores have reported a run on toilet paper.
Here are some key things you need to consider when transitioning one, two or your entire workforce to “remote worker“ status.
Develop a collaboration process that will allow your team members to easily communicate with each other and their clients.
Prepare to either allow your team members to pack up their workstation (PC, monitor etc.) or ensure that their own hardware is available.
Remote collaboration means ensuring that every workstation has a good web camera and microphone (often the same hardware).
Standardize your video conferencing tool and ensure that your team members are all trained on its use.
G-Suite users should embrace Google Hangouts MEET and Google Chat.
Microsoft 365 users have access to Microsoft Teams
Training is required, trust me on this. Ensuring team members can create, join and manage a video conference will ensure your team is efficient. Everyone should experience sharing their own screen into a video conference.
Side story: I was once in a meeting at a company office where the meeting host couldn’t get the video conferencing system in the room to work. We ended up abandoning the built in system in favor of using Google MEET. Sadly the meeting room was in the offices of the company that sells very expensive video conferencing and collaboration solutions to enterprise clients. Their own management couldn’t start a video conference in their own meeting room.
Contact your telephone service provider and see if your phone system supports remote ‘softphones’ or apps on mobile phones. Some phone systems will support “find me, follow me” services that would allow your team members to have their phone calls go directly to the device of their choice. If you need a referral to a phenomenal phone system service company just shoot me a note.
Write a policy for your team members who are going to become remote workers. We call them “Remote Team Members” or RTMs for short.
Guidelines for Remote Team Members
Some of the key guidelines we have written in our policy includes:
Remote Team Members (RTM’s) will join our perpetual Google Meet video conference and remain online and engaged with the operations team for the duration of their full shift. The exception being breaks, other meetings and phone calls..
RTM’s will ensure that their work environment is conducive to a collaboration via the perpetual MEET. This includes a quiet workspace with minimal distractions.
RTM’s workspace should include a neutral background environment. The goal is to keep the background plain or decorated professionally to give an appropriate impression to clients and co-workers.
RTM’s should expect to meet with co-workers and clients via video conferencing and therefore apply the companies dress code even while working remotely.
Remote Team Members - Additional Responsibilities that we have included in our ‘Work from Home” policy:
Working remotely is a privilege. It requires a great deal of communication between the RTM, the team leaders, and the team members (your co-workers).
RTM’s should be primarily measured, in terms of their contributions, by the meeting of deadlines, communication with team leaders and co-workers about ongoing tasks and client engagements.
RTM’s have to be highly motivated and minimize distractions in their workspace.
RTM’s need to ‘over communicate’ with the team. This is to their own benefit as it is easy to have your time questioned if you are not actively collaborating.
RTM’s working primarily from home must subscribe to a reliable ADSL or Cable internet service with speeds high enough to ensure that they will support our video collaboration via Hangout MEETS.
RTM’s must join a mandatory morning team meeting where all team members will discuss what is on their agenda for the day. The following business day, we will discuss what tasks were completed and which tasks are still outstanding on everyone’s agenda.
Do you need help to prepare for a stay at home workforce? Call CONTINUUS today and learn more about our exprience with remote workers over the past 20 years.