What if work from home becomes a new normal?
Will you be able to run your organization the same way as you did while working in the office?
Well, the COVID-19 lockdown has changed the way businesses operate before the outbreak. The sudden change in the habit is now making its space and is adapted by people as their new routine.
Based on a survey, about 54% of Americans loved working from home and want to continue doing it while 70% of them say they would like to add this as an option to switch their work mode often.
As more and more people are fascinated and find comfort in working at home, remote working is surely going to be a hit for the employers as none of their employees would like to rejoin the office to sit and work in the cubical.
Such a situation raises the question for the employers to keep up the business working pace and also about employee evaluation and company culture.
Five questions that help startups prepare for the new WORK FROM HOME normal
1) What is the basis to evaluate remote employee performance?
There is a difference between walking to the desk and taking a work update and asking the employee to be available on a Zoom call to share the screen to show their work.
These small odds in the work scenario make a huge difference for the employers to judge a person’s work and activities and evaluate their performance.
Here the companies need to adopt an approach where an employee can be evaluated based on the outcomes he/she produces at the end of the week or month. The employee must also be given points for the efforts that they make to accomplish a certain task, but these efforts have to be supported by documented facts or images or even live examples if possible.
A weekly or monthly performance report should be a new ritual for the remote working environment.
2) How to maintain the company culture remotely?
Remote working creates an unseen distance among the employees. Small gatherings at a desk, a random joke in the office environment, the gossip at the coffee machine, or having fun in the lunchtime eating each other’s food, the absence of such small happy times affects the bond between the team as they are unable to spend much time together.
Here the employers need to ensure the team spirit of their remote workers remains intact in spite of being distant from each other. Ask your HR team to prepare a list of virtual team building activities that can help your team have some fun time while working remotely.
Organize tea breaks, where everyone in the team can share their screen and have their tea and coffee break as they used to have in the office. Ask your employees to join virtual office parties at the weekends where they could have some time to talk about things apart from work, like what new things each one is exploring and some updates from their personal lives. Apart from this, making the team play games virtually or arranging a set up for virtual product launch or appreciation events can ensure a company to maintain its culture even while working remotely.
3) What new systems need to adapt to maintain productivity?
Well, the biggest challenge that arises while working remotely on a longer-term is to maintain team coordination and understanding. As people are not together physically, having a common platform or a project management software that helps each of them remain updated about the project to get a better understanding of their work and roles is what the companies need to focus more on.
The organizations also need to redefine their work process to make streamlined systems. Take a group video call daily to discuss the work and get clarity about the outcomes to be expected at the day end. The companies need to redefine policies for remote working based on the changed situation.
Like, does the company want their employees to be available for specific office time for work or they are allowed to work based on their schedule, all these changes have to be done with proper process and must be data-driven.
4) What would be the remote recruiting process?
With remote work getting a new norm, the concept of the physical office will gradually disperse. The authorities have to adopt the new process of recruitment by taking interviews of the candidates virtually.
The process starts with putting an ad for the vacancy, here the company has to create such creatives that could attract the candidates to apply and make themselves interested for an interview call. The HR team could also add real-life videos by the CEO talking about the company or put a company impression on candidates by showcasing cool company culture by ZOOM call recordings or videos in the ad.
Once the candidate schedules the video meeting, the management based on their interview rounds can give instructions to the candidate to follow and be available online on the respective timings. Here the recruiter also needs to ensure that the person on the other side of the call has enough equipment like a device and a smooth internet connection or even software in case of IT practical round to get through the interview process.
5) What security controls are needed to ensure enterprise data?
As employees are working out of the enterprise security network, assuring the safety of the company data from the remote working devices becomes a must.
As everyone in the company is working under a differently secured internet connection, the chances of endpoint vulnerabilities increase to a greater extent making gateways for the data breach and phishing attacks. To implement a long term remote working, ensuring enterprise communication and file transfer through VPNs becomes a must.
Companies risk and security teams have to train the employees and impart enough knowledge to keep their devices safe. These teams have to communicate with the employees to help them set up devices that ensure the endpoint security of the connected devices. The company also has to improve the security controls over its cloud-based software as their employees will be accessing the data from the cloud network from different devices at different times which increase the chances of spam attack.
The crisis is the best lesson to help people explore and find solutions to the things they would not like to indulge in otherwise. COVID-19 outbreak is one such crisis that helped enterprises and their workers realize that they could perform well even while not being present in the office.
While adopting this new normal, the organizations have to get themselves through the above questions while learning and implementing some advanced processes. Help your team stay connected, use proper collaboration tools, ensure enterprise data security, continue expanding your company with remote recruitments, and boost your team spirit by helping them work from home.
James Vargas is an experienced business expert, consultant, and manager at Get Everything Delivered, startup consulting, and team building services. He has 1.5-decade corporate experience and is tailoring the best project delivery and team training practices to the businesses and startups to generate great revenue for their business.
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