People across the globe are experiencing a shift in their day-to-day lives as we try to keep the Coronavirus at bay with social distancing and quarantining. While these measures are extremely necessary for everyone’s health, an outbreak like COVID-19 affects the workplace as well. Your employees may be worried, concerned for their health and dealing with the health and safety of their families. Many companies are beginning to institute work from home policies. While this is a good measure, it doesn't come without its challenges, especially for those performing double-duty with kids from school.
At Tallwave, we recently rolled out a mandatory work from home policy. Here are some of the ways we're making it easy for employees to stay safe and healthy, but also continue to stay focused and connected:
Adjust Your Communication Style
Working from home makes you realize that you lose a lot of the “office chit chat” or verbal/non-verbal communication you get throughout the day from being next to each other, which means you might have to put in the extra effort when it comes to communication. Using email threads can quickly throw a simple conversation off-track. To improve virtual communication, use tools like Basecamp or Slack to communicate with your team. Although we’ve been using them religiously pre-social distancing, these tools make uploading documents, organizing projects, and talking to your teammates a breeze. If you don’t have the budget or timeline to implement a tool like Basecamp, tools like Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and G-Suite have similar capabilities.
Use Video Conferencing
While it may be difficult to avoid hitting snooze in order to get ready in the morning, we also know that working from home is difficult for those who need daily social interaction. For this reason, we recommend using video conferencing to host team meetings. Video conferencing helps avoid the feeling of isolation and can reduce the risk of depression. There are plenty of free tools out there to assist with your video conferencing needs, like Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, and Skype.
Emphasize Digital Collaboration
Collaboration is still very much a priority for a business like ours. Luckily, we live in a time where we don’t need to be in-person to achieve effective collaboration. At Tallwave, our teams use a variety of digital collaboration tools to keep organized and minimize our paper use. For example, our Insights & Planning and Design teams often use Mural. Complete with digital Post-it Notes, this tool allows for seamless digital collaboration among our teams.
Other similar organization tools include InVision Freehand and Explain Everything. In case you need to provide guided instructions or how-tos, Loom is a great way to create videos of yourself or your screen and share them via link. These types of videos can be extremely helpful to tee up a presentation or when asking for feedback on a deliverable via video.
In order to create some order among chaos, we developed a list of guidelines that we feel works for our teams and our business.
These guidelines can be as simple or complex as you need them to be depending on your deliverables and work requirements.
Remember, Everyone Works Differently
Everyone’s work style is different. While some may thrive when it comes to working in isolation, others may feel burdened by not going into the office every day. Maintaining steady communication and catering to the needs of those who are struggling with working from home are key to maintaining operations and keeping morale high.
We know it’s a weird time in the world right now and we want to do everything we can to ensure our employees, their families, and our clients are safe and healthy. To do so, we recommend monitoring the news for any changes. Keeping up with these changes is essential to returning to our daily lives and avoiding potentially-catastrophic events like we’ve seen in other countries. You can keep your circles informed by sharing helpful, informative, and up-to-date articles on coronavirus on your social channels.
We know that this is a time of uncertainty, but we want to remind you not to panic and have empathy for the rest of the world as we all navigate through this together. There are several ways to keep morale up, stay positive, and support the local community while practicing social distancing, such as buying only what you need, getting creative with how you keep your kids entertained, dedicating more time to a passion project, purchasing gift cards or ordering take-out from local restaurants, and going outside to boost your immune system.
If you’re struggling to meet the demands of the changing market, we’re here to partner as your virtual team – just shoot us a message. We’re here to help.
Written by Ed Borromeo