Written by: Kevin Gardner
In recent times, change has become the new normal. Not only has this affected how many live their day to day lives, but it has also had an effect on how businesses function, too. With businesses increasingly having to move online, or find ways for everyone to work together while working from home, the workplace is looking very different. Additionally, with these kinds of changes, some new struggles may present themselves, as well. That doesn't mean, though, that transitioning your business to a work from home format has to feel overwhelming. If you're trying to find ways to make the change as smooth as possible, here are some things to think about.
Use New Technology When You Can
When making the transition to an online, work from home business from an in-person one, technology is your new best friend. In fact, you may come across forms of technology that will continue to be beneficial to your business, in the event that you do transition back to being an in-person business in the future. Whether it's something like a timesheet app or a new video chat program, finding ways to incorporate new forms of technology can make the transition smoother, and make things easier for you and your employees throughout the process.
Once your business has become transitioned to a work from home one, the way that you communicate will inevitably have to change. However, just because the way that you will be communicating will have to change, that doesn't mean that communication is any less important. In fact, in this new setting, it may be even more so. With such significant changes, it will be likely that you will face some challenges and difficulties.
For many businesses, it isn't so much the challenges that make a difference, as it is how they are handled, and one of the best ways to handle anything that comes your way is to communicate through it. The more that your employees are aware they can reach out to you, and that you are open to talking things through with them no matter what is going on, the easier it will be for everyone to stay connected, and to do their jobs well.
Come Up With Adapted Workplace Policies
Along with keeping open lines of communication, another thing that will help your business throughout this transition is coming up with adapted workplace policies, and being clear about what they are and what they mean. Things like sick days may need to be addressed differently, and in a work from home format, things like a dress code may need to change, or be cut out altogether. Additionally, it will be important to set expectations on things like what hours you expect your employees to be working and available to communicate, as well as how they should be communicating. You will also need to let them know what timelines you have in mind for getting certain tasks completed, as well as what software or tools you will require them to have.
Set Clear Goals and Create a Sense of Community
In addition to creating some new workplace policies, it will also be important to set clear goals for your company overall, and for your employees individually. Because things are changing, it is completely normal to take things easy while everyone is adjusting. However, that doesn't mean, though, that your business's goals aren't still important. Once everyone is settling in to their new situation, it can be beneficial to remind them of the company’s goals and what will be required to reach them. It can also be helpful at this time to break down these goals, and give your employees a clear idea of what you expect from each of them on an individual basis, so that there is no confusion about what everyone's next steps should be.
While goals are important during this time, creating a sense of community can be equally so. Because everyone is separated, there may be less of a sense of community that there would be if business was still taking place in person. That doesn't mean, though, that community is any less important to your workplace, or that you shouldn't make an effort to maintain it as much as possible. By doing things like sending out emails with birthday reminders, or creating chat groups where employees can chat together socially, you can help maintain a sense of togetherness.
Give Employees Helpful Tips
Another big part of helping ensure that your transition is successful is looking after your employees and giving them tips and tools for their new working situation. While you may be struggling to adjust to having your business structured differently, your employees are likely also struggling to figure out how to work from home effectively as well, and taking time to help them through the transition can be important for your business overall.
When it comes to tips for employees for working from home, it can be a good idea to do make sure that they know the importance of having a designated workspace. Having a space just for them to get their work done can not only help them feel more focused and motivated, but it can also help cut down on distractions, as well. Developing a regular routine is also key when it comes to working from home effectively, as it can help you to better stay on task, and gauge how much work you can accomplish within a given time frame. Additionally, one of the most important things your employees can do is look after themselves and their health, especially in times of change and uncertainty.
The Bottom Line
Changing from an in-person business to an online, work from home one, can feel challenging, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible, or that you should feel overwhelmed by it. By doing things like trying out new forms of technology, and taking time to check in with your employees throughout the process, you can make it a little easier on everyone involved, and make it a more successful process, overall.