Remote Work Tips from Our Team to Yours
Nothing feels normal right now. We’re living through a pandemic, we can’t see or hug family and friends and we’re being asked to stay home (and work from home if we’re fortunate enough). While many organizations had already incorporated flexible work arrangements before this crisis, there are many others who are navigating the work from home model for the first time.
At Assurance we’ve incorporated flexible work arrangements into our culture over the years. This not only has helped us attract and retain top talent and increase engagement, but it’s also proven to be beneficial during unexpected times such as these.
We know there can be challenges related to working remote for those who aren’t used to it, and we want to help organizations through this challenging time. Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years (and more recently) to help you navigate a newly remote workforce:
1. Embrace technology
Technological advances and flexibility in the workplace have redefined the workday for many organizations and their employees. At Assurance, we use Skype for video meetings and have softphone capabilities in place that allow for a seamless experience when speaking with clients and colleagues on the phone.
To help support our employees who don’t regularly split their time between the office and home, we suggested they “practice” working from home to test the systems and remote tools. Assurance also made sure to provide our employees with home equipment such as extra monitors, cables and headsets. This allowed our employees to become more comfortable working from home so they could quickly transition to full-time remote once necessary.
There are various tools you can easily implement within your organization including Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts for video meetings and screen sharing. The key is to make communication easy and seamless, both internally within your organization and externally for client-facing roles.
2. Think outside the box
While working from home has its benefits, it can quickly become lonely if you’re used to seeing your coworkers in person 5 days a week. That seemingly unimportant chat in the kitchen about your weekend or the impromptu stop at a coworker’s desk can make all the difference when it comes to your mental health.
To keep engagement high and remind each other we’re all in this together, try thinking outside the box. For example, Assurance recently created three discussion boards on our intranet. We’ve encouraged our employees to share photos of their four-legged coworkers, their kids and their home offices. Team members have been sharing photos and ideas for how to work from home alongside their families while maintaining productivity.
Assurance also adjusted its wellness program to help protect the mental and physical health of our employees. We added a new wellness challenge to encourage team members to take a break from pandemic-induced isolation and do one of two things each day: attend a virtual coffee break with a co-worker or take a walk outside. Those who complete the challenge receive wellness points that equate to prizes at the end of the year.
You can start small by turning all team meetings into video calls. Virtual coffee breaks and happy hours can also give employees the social boost they need in order to stay positive and engaged. Don’t underestimate the power of personalization and face time.
3. Stay connected
This one may go without saying, but make sure you’re checking in on your teammates! This is a stressful time for everyone, and small acts of kindness and support can go a long way. For managers and those in leadership positions it’s especially important to not only ensure your team members are succeeding professionally but also (and more importantly) doing well personally.
For example, Assurance’s CEO Tony Chimino has been sending weekly company emails to check in, show his appreciation and keep things positive. Last week he sent an email sharing 11 things he’s learned so far about the Coronavirus and being stuck at home. Among his list he pondered whether it’s okay to eat a whole bag of Skinny Pop in one sitting, and he also made sure to thank our employees for their dedication, flexibility and creativity throughout this process.
We hope these tips help bring a sense of normalcy and stability to your employees during this difficult time. If you have questions or would like to learn more, contact a member of the ‘A’ Team!
- Coronavirus Resource Page
- COVID-19 Computer Virus
- Tips for Managing Market Volatility
- How A Flexible Workplace Benefits Your Bottom Line
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