Many companies are asking employees to work remotely for weeks or months during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some common challenges they face.
As a world population, we are in a struggling time. Never before has there been such a massive health crisis that affects our social threads like COVID-19. Small companies and even tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, and others are all asking employees to go home and take their jobs with them for the next few weeks or months.
But that creates a new set of challenges—especially at firms where remote work has never previously been an option. Keep reading to learn more about how the Coronavirus pandemic is testing the future of remote work.
The first hurdle companies have to figure out during the COVID-19 crisis is the technical aspects of having a full-time team working from home unexpectedly. Lack of secure firewalls, use of home networks, and personal computers being utilizing for business tasks leave companies open to potential data breaches. Furthermore, some managers have to decide how employees should communicate as a group during this period of remote work and how to leverage technology to help keep the creative process going.
Also, school closings are making things a whole lot more difficult for parents who work remotely. Where traditional remote workers might have the option to send offspring to class for eight to ten hours of silence, these emergency at-home workers likely do not have that option. Most states have made the tough decision to cancel public school classes for at least the foreseeable future, which puts parents in a tough position of having to handle both child-rearing and remote work simultaneously.
Another area being tested by remote work is spousal and roommate dynamics. It is one thing to spend your off time with a spouse that you care about or a roommate that you get along reasonably well with after you’ve clocked out at the office for a day. It is a whole different situation to be stuck feet away from them at the kitchen table while you both aim to be somewhat productive.
Typically, employees who engage in remote work as part of their routine take their productivity very seriously. Most want to do an excellent job to continue to have the privilege to continue to do their jobs from the comfort of their own homes. But when companies are put in the position of having to offer this type of employment format, does productivity suffer? In some cases, it might. Managers and supervisors need to be diligent in communicating expectations to team members as to how many hours of uninterrupted work they need to put in daily.
Eventually, the fallout from the Coronavirus will subside. When it does, what do companies do when it comes to remote workers? The good news is that now is the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Companies can choose to work with an outside managed IT provider to set up parameters and equipment during this crisis, which can translate to a robust remote work program later when concern about COVID-19 becomes minimal. They can also create guidelines that include checking in via a messaging platform like Slack once an hour or video conferencing throughout the day. Putting these parameters in place during an emergency makes it easier to switch to a remote format voluntarily later—and only time will tell if this works as an option for the vast number of companies.
At William Ives Consulting, we are here to help your organization get through this challenging time by allowing employees to work remotely. If you have questions or concerns about keeping your data safe while we all ride this out, please get in touch with us. We would be happy to offer guidance.
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