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Communicating with your now home-based employees

With the spread of the novel Coronavirus, for many companies around the globe, remote employment has become our everyday norm. Our typical office spaces are closing as a safety measure, further limiting our social interactions. Telecommuting is becoming the true hurdle traditional employers are facing in this pandemic.

As the workforce is continually recommended to stay home and avoid any non-essential travel, how do we stay in touch with our teams?

Here are a few notes about your growing virtual labour pool.

It’s not as easy as it looks
With open offices becoming the norm, many people struggled with adjusting to this extroverted workplace, namely introverts. Now, we’re all tackling the added struggles of working from home (WFH). Remote work is not for everyone, as is, and it becomes increasingly difficult with our kids being sent home from school – not to mention spouses. Create a workspace at home to get in the ‘zone’. This could be a tall dresser or your unused dining table.

You can stay connected, wherever you are
With newly digital employees, you could find a lot more flexibility to the hours they’d normally work. With everyone in WFH-mode, you can expect some entertaining video conferencing to occur. Videochat allows you to practice social distancing and still enjoy your everyday conversations with your co-workers.

Some will handle it better than others
Children are home from school, your spouse is stressed, and you likely have no real office space. Things are going to be challenging depending on your personality type. If you’re someone who needs structure in your day, try to plan breaks and stretch your legs, having a schedule will give you a sense of normalcy. Others might adapt to these changes as though nothing has changed, it’s OK if you don’t, this entire situation is not normal.
Productivity rises in the home office
Having a more autonomous work life means that the hours spent commuting could be extra hours worked, raising the opportunity for extended work days with staggered start times. This unique situation can be ideal for customer service roles. Without everyday office distractions, and background noise, remote workers can be more productive and able to maintain better overall wellbeing.

Keep the stress levels low
By allowing your staff to work from home with their families in this trying time, you’re helping reduce the stress in their entire household. You can still check in with them via video or phone to stay on top of key projects. Remote work has the potential to be much more satisfying for your staff, you might discover a new service model in all of this. Distractions will happen, but that’s ok, try to stay on track with a routine.

With all the push to work remotely because of the pandemic, it’s a no brainer, but how do you effectively communicate with your digital employees?

Outline your expectations
Start by setting clear expectations. Provide them with the same guidelines and support you would have given them ‘in-office’. Discuss the options together, providing this structure early on helps keep them aligned with your goals and expectations for the role.

Make use of widely available tech
Technology plays a huge role in office communication, and that goes double when you’re working remotely. There are so many options to choose from which can be confusing, so it’s best to pick and stick to the one you might already use. With tech giants like Google and Microsoft offering communication platforms with integrated workflow software, you already have tools at your disposal. Just make sure everyone is using the same platform.

Make it a plan
Avoid the typical blunders that impact the modern office. Some things are still better said than typed over email or instant message. If you think an email might come across as rude without the tone and inflection of your voice, consider setting up a quick video call to avoid any miscommunication. Set up regular check-in meetings with your remote workers. It could be a simple touch-base, keeping them engaged on the project and your business.

By involving and engaging your staff while they’re working remotely, your company will be one step ahead and able to tap into the massive benefits remote workers bring to the modern workforce.
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