Helping Your Employees Adjust to Remote Work: A GuideThe world of work is facing changes and small business owners must adapt to our new reality. Here is a quick guide to helping your employees adjust to remote work. 

Unless you are already having your employees work remotely as part of your small business plan, you have likely felt overwhelmed with the changes that are happening in Canada and the rest of the world. Workers often feel unsafe working side by side and many would prefer to begin working remotely. As a small business owner, helping your employees adjust to remote work will aid greatly in employee productivity and retention.

Expect a learning curve

Transitioning to remote work can seem daunting at first. If your employees have never worked at home before, allow them some time to adjust to the change. Some may have children or need time to set up an effective home office. Others may struggle with using new technology or will need time to learn remote tools. Worker productivity may drop at first as you and your employees adjust to the new reality. Remain understanding during this transition period, and you will reduce the stress for everyone as you seek the setups that work the best for your small business.

You may need to make some scheduling accommodations for employees who have difficulty working at home due to having young children or due to having no clear space for a home office.

Use tools, and show your employees how to use them

Many tools are available for those working remotely and some of these tools help track productivity as well. Employees should know which tools can ease the burden of working remotely. Tools are available for employees to connect to computers in other locations, schedule projects and meetings with one another, and share project files. Just make sure that your workers know how to use these tools to keep everything running smoothly.

Have a plan for the long haul

Many employees will adapt to working at home and will want to continue doing so. There is also the added uncertainty of not knowing how long the current crisis will take place. Even after returning to a normal work setup, there could be another crisis that will resurface the need for remote work, so knowing what to do ahead of time will make the next adjustments flow more smoothly.

Don’t forget social interaction, communication, and etiquette

A challenge for you and your workers alike when working remotely will be the social aspect. We are naturally social creatures and the isolation of working at home can be stressful for many. Ensuring that your employees are easily able to communicate, have some social interaction, and remember to maintain their etiquette is vital to your business continuing to function well.

Email and instant messaging are great for clear and concise communication, but don’t rely only on them. Some meetings should be face-to-face. Many programs exist, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts that will allow for video conferencing. During these times, many programs are offering free options for video conferencing, so it may be worth shopping around.

In fact, doing a short call on a regular basis, say every day or at least once a week, can help you and your workers form a sense of togetherness. Many crave the social interaction over coffee or lunch and will feel more motivated to work if these needs are being met. Having face to face breaks or meetings will also allow your employees to voice any concerns or stresses they may have, pandemic or not.

It’s important to ensure that any video meetings are organized and everyone knows what to do, however. Start on time, ensure everything is working properly, and look professional. Make sure everyone is paying attention during any meetings and waits for their turn to speak.

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