In the age of COVID-19, the likelihood of your business having to temporarily close offices or worksites is increasing. While this may prove more challenging for some than others there are a number of steps you can take to support your employees through the weeks ahead.
Plan in Advance
Clarify who will be responsible for what when working remotely. Some things simply can’t be done; some may be more difficult. Figure out who does what. Working Agile? Photograph those post-its and whiteboards daily.
Re-evaluate the chain of command. If team members are sick who makes decisions or picks up their critical tasks?
Decide when and how people will check-in. Environmental challenges are more easily managed around short calls that happen at the same time each day. Some people may need to work at nights if they have kids at home.
Decide how you will communicate. Slack, Yammer, Skype, email? How will you report progress? Determine what you will use for what type of communication. Don’t expect people to respond immediately.
Be Prepared to Offer Additional Support
Distractions at home
Schools and Daycare could be closed. It may be very challenging for some people to work when kids need care. Be patient and try to work around their commitments. Partners and housemates will also be isolated. Be tolerant of interruptions and background noise.
If someone lives alone, they might feel very isolated. Take time for a non-work-related chats. Use video when you can to maintain the people connection. Encourage people to show and share their environment. If you normally have a social hour on a Friday afternoon why not plan an office zoom chat at your normal time so that everyone can still socialize.
Some people may not be set up well to work at home. Don’t expect them to sit at their computer all-day. Encourage your staff to schedule frequent breaks and take in some fresh air from time to time.
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