14th April 2020
Adjusting to Remote Working: How to navigate your way through the challenges of Covid-19
By now we are all aware of the devastating effects of Covid-19. We got two of our experts to give us their top advice on how to adjust to remote working during these challenging times.
Have Realistic Expectations and be Kind To Yourself!
Being in the house full time doesn’t mean that you have to be at your workspace 24/7. Take a break, you would in the office. Take a lunch break. Make the most of the sun. Enjoy your 30 minutes outside. Put some washing in. Read a book or play a game with the kids. You are not superhuman, but you are super human, so be kind to yourself
Recognise that we are human and we are all doing the very best we can. In an ideal world, flex working and home working would have been planned, and in many ways this has forced organisations to show that change can be made and we can work in different ways, in different locations and focus more on outputs than being at our desk five days a week 9-5.
In normal circumstances, we wouldn’t be working with all of our family in the same room as us all fighting for wifi, or be working five days a week in total isolation if you live alone. We are all going through this event at the same time, but that doesn’t mean that we are having the same experience.
- Keep in regular contact with your teams, but don’t bombard them, and not every interaction has to be done via video call. Calls, emails and text do still work.
- Don’t just ask your people if ‘they are ok’. Ask them what worked well today? What did they find a challenge today? Refer to the change curve if necessary and ask your people where they would position themselves today and why.
- Recognise that home working doesn’t work for everyone at the best of times. So, in this time of forced change, whilst the introverts in your team may be relishing it, the extroverts may be constantly craving human interaction and a zoom call doesn’t make up for that.
- Do something fun with your teams. Have a virtual team lunch and order everyone a pizza. Organise a virtual pub quiz. Have some competitions, ‘who’s kitchen is this?’ could add a fun element. But don’t force everyone to attend. People still have choice over social engagements.
- Give you team some flex. If company systems or home wifi is crashing during ‘core hours’ and some people are willing and able to start at 5am, take some time out and then pick up again in the evening, let it happen. Speak to your people about how this situation can work for them and you so that everyone benefits.If your people are at home with kids, long calls throughout the day and especially over lunchtime will not work. Kids get hangry and want attention and young kids don’t understand the concept of time. There is a reason ‘are we there yet?’ gets asked so many times on long journeys, ‘are you finished your call yet?’ will be met with the same misunderstandings, so allow flex, be patient, and use common sense.
- Don’t let guilt or apologies impact your people. Your culture should be one of understanding and nurturing and growth. This means that kids and pets and partners, may walk into the room. Your people should not have to apologies for this. They are in their own home, doing work for you. And they will be doing the best they possibly can in the circumstances.
We are all human, we are all doing the best we can and my hope is that we will come out of this stronger. For now, lets’ find our feet. Let’s have some fun. Let’s keep going. Let’s be grateful that our businesses can be ticking over whilst our people are able to work from home. And let’s be a little more patient and a little more flexible whilst we all navigate this global home working experiment together.
Trust your people
For many organisations, adjusting to the bulk of their employees working remotely for the first time hasn’t necessarily come naturally. For our employees, this may be the first time they have ever worked from home, and certainly the first time their personal and work lives have been thrown together in such strange circumstances.
Implement flexible working hours
At Benefex, we’ve always been advocates of flexible working, and we’ve found that enabling people to fit their hours around home and family commitments has consistently resulted in more engaged, focused and productive people supporting our business. Over the last three weeks, flexible working has become less of a nice to have, and more of a fundamental to business success. And my key piece of advice for any employers nervous about employee productivity while working flexibly is to trust your people.
We are in a position where we cannot measure performance by the hours someone is at their desk for, and nor should we. Since 100% of our team at Benefex started working from home three weeks ago, productivity, engagement levels, and our employee NPS have all increased. We’ve encouraged employees to change their hours to fit around their caring responsibilities. We’re encouraging all employees to take regular breaks, join calls with each other, take part in online social activities at work, we’re running weekly learning sessions with experts around the business, and we’re even hosting meme caption competitions to keep everyone’s spirits up. We can do this, very simply, because we trust our people to deliver.
For more information on Benefex click here.