The COVID-19 virus has forced one of the most massive shifts in workplace history. Millions of businesses around the world are waking up to a very new normal – remote working, right now.
While some of us have more experience working from home than others, everyone is feeling the change and worried about the uncertainty and hassles it can bring.
There are many tips out there to help businesses maintain productivity with a remote workforce, but often what suffers most is culture. It’s critical to maintain a sense of community and humanity.
The list below includes some helpful tips to keep your culture strong and your people first during this unprecedented shift in workplace culture.
A PEOPLE-FIRST GUIDE TO WORKING FROM HOME
Trust your people. This is a big change that requires your confidence and assurance. Your team will step up to the challenge if you let them.
Respect their humanity. People are inviting you and your clients into their homes, their kitchens, their makeshift offices. Be a good guest.
Be flexible and patient. While the policy changes may have happened overnight, it will take some time for people to get settled and comfortable with unfamiliar tech.
Set clear expectations. Be transparent about how you expect people to behave, from how to maintain professionalism during meetings to being available online during working hours. This isn’t a vacation.
Re-set your own expectations. Don’t apply the same expectations as you would in the office. No make-up? No tie? Video call from the porch or a dimly lit room? Dogs barking and kids screaming in the background? Get over it.
Over-communicate. Especially at the beginning, keep people updated and informed on all happenings with the new policies and what it means for them.
Be consistent with routines. Push against uncertainty and maintain a sense of normalcy by practicing the same work, just a different way. Calm wins.
Use video calls over email. Seeing everyone’s face on a regular basis goes a long way towards keeping the culture you’ve worked so hard to build.
Brush up on meeting etiquette. Get familiar with your meeting tech. Build visual presentations using fewer words. And please, please use your mute button.
Practice empathy and understanding. We know that this situation will impact some more deeply – with sickness, family care or other personal needs. Put their health and safety above all else.
The New Normal
There is no return to “normal”. There is only the new normal. The new future of work. Involuntarily thrust upon us all like a powerful, churning tsunami.
The businesses that lean into this new reality and put their people and culture first will be the ones who emerge from this crisis the best equipped to succeed.
How you and your people respond today will be who you are tomorrow. Because Covid-19 will leave everything changed.