A couple of weeks ago, we published an article about the rising trend of remote working, here in Australia. And the conclusion we came to is this: we believe remote working for permanent and contingent workers alike will be an ongoing trend both here, and across the globe.
Little did we realise as recently as two weeks ago, that the world was in the middle of an unprecedented change. Thanks to the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Now, on the back of this accelerating pandemic, remote working is being mandated by governments across some countries in Europe and Asia. The UK looks set to make the same decision. And it’s a situation that may potentially materialise here in Australia. These are uncertain times.
And this uncertainty and change will make people uncomfortable.
There’ll be managers and workers treading new ground in light of COVID-19. Some managers won’t have the experience or corporate history to confidently deploy a remote working policy. Or to do so quickly. Some workers will feel isolated and uncertain; not only about how their roles are being executed, but perhaps for health or job security reasons, too.
We know there’s going to be economic and financial pain. For your business, and most likely, for your workers.
Key data for managing remote workers
So today, we’ve gathered key data on the main factors you need to keep in mind when managing remote workers. This is a simple yet comprehensive checklist so you can confidently move forward managing your workers remotely. We’ve designed it so you can download, print, save or bookmark as a handy checklist – most importantly, so you can access this information quickly and easily.
Be assured, there will be positives to come from this worrisome time in the world’s history. But if we each take a measured approach to decision making, and if we keep communicating and interacting with each other, we’ll all come out perhaps less scathed than we may have expected.
Download this checklist here.
Have all adequate technology easily available: smartphone, video conferencing (like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype), laptops
- Allocate premium licences of Zoom or other technologies to more people so it’s easy for them to have frequent interactions
- Set in place the right collaboration technology for your team such as Slack, Google Project Management, Trello or Asana
These platforms minimise the need for endless emails, they keep people engaged in the project and ensure transparency for all deliverables CXC March 10, 2020
Become Goal Focused
- Time at the desk or in the office, doesn’t equal productivity. Take a goal-oriented approach to managing your team’s output
- Be really clear on goals and responsibilities
- And encourage your team to check-in with you, as frequently as they need to
- By creating team ‘meritocracy’ during this time, you’ll be able to instil trust and deeper engagement from both employees and contingent labour
- Be sure to provide regular and relevant feedback and positive reinforcement to teams
- Share team wins with everyone relevant; this will boost morale
Avoid Operating with Unconscious Bias
- Assigning tasks to workers you inherently ‘trust’ more than others
- Assuming productivity will drop; so you tighten your management grip
- Assuming if you can’t see your workers, they’re not working
- Rethink the true value of ‘face time’ with workers (a concept greatly helped by the use of video conferencing technology)
We’ve been socialized to view “reliable” workers as those most at their desks, so we often put a high value on “face-time.”
Promote Healthy Working Practices
- Encourage people to take breaks, to limit working hours to the ‘normal’ amount, to not overdo it, just because they’re at home
- Encourage your people to undertake the same morning rituals: exercise, shower, change of clothes, breakfast. This is really important for a productive mindset
- Encourage your team to have water on their desks, and to pop out for a coffee (if feasible), every so often
- Allow your people to catch up more frequently on Zoom for social chit-chat. Isolation isn’t easy for many people, so help your team to continue to feel connected
- Encourage your team to keep in touch via IM, WhatsApp, Facetime
- Consult legal counsel about whether separate contracts need to be issued for remote working
- Get separate advice for your contingent workers
- Seek advice as well on all legislative and statutory requirements, relevant to your state and federal authorities
- Establish a ‘business as usual’ mindset to keep your team calm and engaged
- Have a dedicated ‘announcement’ channel, so your team know they need to keep across this channel, for important information
- Host morning Skype or Zoom huddles with the entire team
- Establish more regular one-on-one meetings with individual team members
- Keep your contingent workers in the loop on all relevant facets of your company’s initiatives at this time
- Use screenshots or screencasts when you’re discussing complex or difficult topics
- Request your boss check in with your team. Make them feel important and valued
- Undertake ‘no agenda’ catch-ups with everyone in your team
Remote Meetings Etiquette
- Online or video-conference meetings can be noisy and overwhelming. Encourage people to take a pause after they speak
- Give everyone the opportunity to have their say
- Use the video-conferencing chat function so people can share their ideas and thoughts
- Record all online meetings. Those team members who can’t make it, can take a look at a later time
Mute that phone during online meetings…
- Ask your team – collectively and individually – about their feedback of this new working dynamic
- Encourage people to lean on you or others if they’re frustrated or feeling isolated during this time
- Give your teams broader access to EAP support
- Make sure your HR policies are up to date, and that your team is across the HR procedures at this time
- Think about any additional training that might help your people: avoiding procrastination, staying focused, time management
- Train people to provide you with safety audits of their home working environment
- It may be a difficult transition for some workers, so step-up the fun stakes!
- Have a pet photo contest; a best t-shirt contest; a poem contest about working from home. The ideas are endless, and will assist with morale and engagement
Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.
Here are some critical sources of information to keep you updated.
Australian Government Health Department
Department of Health & Human Services, Victoria
We keep reading in the news (which changes almost hourly), about the economic impact this pandemic will have on our economy.
About the financial hurt people will feel, at every corner of society.
And we see it as everyone’s responsibility to do whatever we can to mitigate this impact.
To keep things calm.
To keep the engine turning, wherever possible.
So please… be a little more patient, and a little more forgiving at this time. Many people will be under more stress than you might realise. And a comforting presence will be well remembered.
As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.