WITH the Corona virus making its presence felt globally, and as societies react to it aggressively, more businesses are facing challenging times as staff are forced to work at home, resulting in more down time.
For those who may have had an employee exposed to Covid-19, it could be a case of that person being quarantined at home for a period of time. As we learn more about the virus, the reaction will be managed accordingly.
But while some view staying at home as a challenge because they are so used to an office environment, they may want to take this time to find out just how inconvenienced they will be by this change in approach.
One of the key benefits of working from home is you don’t have to waste your time on the daily commute. That could be as much as an hour or two saved.
Possibly more if you factor getting up early and getting ready to go to work. Now you hop out of bed and attend to your children, elderly parents, or your own needs before hitting the computer to log in to the office network. And office and home chores can be resolved if you are disciplined about it.
One thing many stay-at-home sorts will miss is the camaraderie of an office environment. Best work mates may find it difficult to have a virtual relationship. But if it can’t withstand this test, then is it worth it, you could ask yourself.
There are those who will be happy to be away from the office if it’s a political hotspot. But then, by not being there you have no idea what’s being done out of sight and earshot!
1. Set Firm Deadlines
Businesses may need to review their approach to monitoring employee productivity. Instead of keeping an eye on them all the time, just have strict deadlines that have to be met. And if they are not met, then deal with them accordingly. There’s little point in keeping track of their every movement. That’s so old school.
In these times of disruption and the threat of robots and artificial intelligence hanging over many industries, people may be more mindful about hanging on to that pay cheque. More autonomy may result in better ideas for work flow or innovative concepts that could strengthen the business operation.
New technologies may be developed to keep track of the tasks that need to be completed, which could help businesses consider if they really do need to have the current office size. If productivity is still high, or improved as a result of people working from home, then, it’s a good sign that the team members are able to function independently.
If it goes in the other direction, then maybe it’s time to evaluate hiring practices.
Employees should also keep to a schedule so that work doesn’t overwhelm their lives. It’s easy to be distracted by the fridge, the kids and social media (not necessarily in that order) and find out that half the day is gone. By keeping to a schedule, you should be able to accomplish more of the things you have to.
2. Virtual Tea Time
Maybe businesses could consider a virtual tea time for the various teams; a video chat where people can keep the connections and team spirit going, without necessarily just talking about work. It could be a platform to share tips about working from home, and helping out those who may be taking a longer time to adjust.
New staff may find it difficult to understand how all the various people fit into the organisation, but this could be an area the HR department tries to accommodate the process by having more virtual engagements.
It’s probably a good time to ensure the office software systems are up-to-date with ZOHO Suite, Google, Microsoft or whatever else is available out there.
3. Start A Business On The Side
Now that you’re home more often, consider using your time more productively. Instead of being a slave to social media, you could start some sideline activities that could help boost your income. It could be services offered or things bought and sold, but it’s always good to test your entrepreneurial instincts and see where that may lead.
What could be an undesirable change in your work life, might serve as the push to nudge you into new ways of thinking and operating.