These are unique and unprecedented times for all of us. I have never worked from home before, let alone managed a team of remote employees through a pandemic. At this point, we do not have a date that we can return to the office, and we are preparing for this to be the new normal for a while. I am not saying what we are doing at ARL is right, but I wanted to share our plan so others can compare. When we share the best business practices, I hope it will encourage
others to do the same so we can learn from each other.
With our employee’s safety in mind, we made it a top priority to make sure we had all equipment needed to work remotely. Most of our employees have laptops and are used to working from home, hotels, and coffee shops, but getting prepared for the long haul is a different story. We needed our dual monitors and phones to ensure we would have everything we needed to service our customers. We made arrangements for the employees to go to the office at separate times to get their equipment. Our VOIP phones require a power source that we have, but we did not have one for everyone. Once those were delivered, we were all set.
Our morning meetings are conducted through Google Meet. We encourage everyone to turn on their video so we can see them. We want to find ways to encourage more human interaction, knowing that working from home can be lonely. We have a second meeting with the managers after the morning meeting to set the objectives for the day. Our managers typically only meet once a week, but over-communicating is critical right now, and we need to make sure our
messages are in line. We are big on the face to face meetings with our customers. When we cannot travel to see them, we typically use a conference call line. We are using this opportunity to change our behaviors and are requesting our customers to turn on their computer cameras and let us see them when we talk. Finally, do not forget about those company virtual happy hours. Those are also key to keep things loose and keep the team spirit high.
Trust is enormous while we are working from different locations. We set expectations for what needs to be accomplished daily, and we are checking in throughout the day. It is hard to gauge when one employee is carrying more of the weight when you are not sitting next to them, so we use the check-ins to ask, “how can we help you.” At the end of the day, we determine what was not completed, and make it a top priority for the next day. Each employee knows they need to carry their weight, and no one wants to let the team down.
Be a Cheerleader
Most of all, lead the charge with positivity. There are plenty of obstacles, and every day is a new challenge. We are boosting everyone’s spirits to promote consistent effort throughout the day. Positivity amongst our employees leads to positivity from our customers and vendors. We are all in this together, and we will pull through it. Years from now, we will all be referencing the pandemic of 2020 and telling our individual stories. How do you want your story to be told? You can control the narrative with your actions today, tomorrow, and the challenging weeks that lie ahead.
I wish you all the best of luck working through these tough times. Feel free to add your comments on best practices that are working for your company right now.
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