Having the option to work from home is a luxury, however, when working from home becomes mandatory, like during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people may find that the new work arrangement isn’t their cup of tea. Whether this is for reasons such as distractions at home, motivational challenges, or simply the lack of human interaction, most people can agree that a disruption to the usual workflow tends to throw the whole process off balance. So, how can you and your employees make a smooth transition from the office environment to a work from home set up?
Firstly, the key difference between the two work environments is communication style. You can no longer stroll over to your co-workers’ desk when you need to talk. Instead, you have to make a conscious effort to reach out via other means such as phone, email or online chat. Because everyone is working remotely, it can be challenging to maintain the same level of effective communication you once had, and this is essential to keep the business running smoothly during this time.
Below are some tips to help you and your employees stay on top of your communication game:
Create new team rituals
Weekly virtual coffee
Remember those regular coffee catch ups with your co-workers back at the office? Well, those don’t have to stop once you’ve settled into your new home office. Schedule a weekly virtual coffee catch up with your co-workers before you start your work day. This is a great way to feel connected and ease you into a full day of productivity.
If a morning catch up is not your thing, then replacing your team bonding lunches with a weekly virtual lunch catch up might be the way to go. Save yourself from eating alone by setting up video calls with your co-workers.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, your team bonding activities might have taken a back seat. But don’t worry, the beauty of today’s technology allows you to participate in social activities without having to be in the same room. The activity doesn’t need to be extravagant; it can be as simple as an online interactive trivia night or a group yoga session. Whatever the activity may be, the key is to set one date and time and communicate it to all team members so that everyone has the opportunity to participate. The best method is to send out calendar invites and email reminders beforehand.
Weekly team updates
Transitioning to online work can be complicated if your team members are not used to it, so as the employer, you need to get in touch with your team frequently and make sure everyone is doing ok. Schedule a weekly video call with your team and allow them to raise any concerns or issues they may have encountered over the last week. This is also an excellent opportunity for team members to share their weekly work goals and keep each other accountable.
Checking in with each employee shows that you value their wellbeing. A simple “Good morning! How are things going today?” will often do the trick. If your employee previously raised any concerns during the weekly team catch up, now is a good time to follow it up and resolve the matter if required. Also, if there is any business news that might affect your team workflow, communicate this with your employees and prepare them for the upcoming changes. Working from home is a significant adjustment in itself, so implementing frequent open communication will assist everyone in adapting.
Share more with your co-workers
Working from home can be isolating, especially if you live alone. Here are some things you can share with your co-workers to feel more connected:
Photos and videos
Sharing photos or videos through group chat is a great way to maintain that personal connection you had back in the office. Try to pick neutral topics such as your pets, your work from home station, your garden, or what you’re cooking up in the kitchen. These are things most people can relate to and they will feel more inclined to contribute to the conversation.
Share your hobbies or other commitments
In addition to photos and videos, you can also share your hobbies outside of work. Since everyone is working from home, this may free up some time in the morning and afternoon for extra activities. If you’re taking up a new hobby such as painting, learning a new language or learning an instrument, then share that with your co-workers. You never know, one of them might be interested in the same activity and you can virtually connect and support each other.
Personal schedules and boundaries
Sharing personal schedules can also be beneficial. Let your co-workers know if you have any upcoming appointments or personal commitments that require you to be offline throughout the day. If possible, you should notify them of the exact time that you will be logging off as this will allow them to plan out their tasks effectively. This will also benefit you as your co-workers won’t be contacting you outside of your available time.
All of the above are great ideas to keep you and your employees feeling connected. However, these virtual connections heavily rely on information being transferred back and forth to your co-workers. Therefore, your cyber security protection must be up to date. If you would like to learn more about cyber insurance, get in touch with us to discuss the benefits available with this insurance cover.
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