ONGOING REMOTE WORK
5 ISSUES COMPANIES WILL NEED TO ADDRESS
Working from home may become the new normal for most corporate employees, if not indefinitely then at least for the next several months. And although companies have reported surprising levels of productivity from remote workers, thanks to video conferencing and other online platforms, we’re beginning to hear some concerns about how sustainable this arrangement will be over the long term.
Here are five challenges with ongoing remote work that we think will require some creative approaches and new solutions:
1. ENABLING COLLABORATION
Spontaneous collaboration, when employees bump into each other in the breakroom or stop to chat in the hallway, can be the catalyst for important innovations. With remote work, we need to create alternatives to that face-to-face collaboration — and help employees feel comfortable enough with each other to risk sharing ideas. Besides online collaboration platforms, you might also look for more ways to create human connections between coworkers, from articles spotlighting individual employees to video coffee hours.
2. ONBOARDING NEW EMPLOYEES
Beyond all the forms and processes that new hires need to get through, the first days, weeks and months on the job usually include meeting lots of people and becoming familiar with the culture through day-to-day interactions in the workplace. When everyone’s working from home, we need to find new ways to help recent hires feel connected and supported. You might consider a mentor program, matching each new hire with a long-time employee, or a more casual buddy system with someone from the same team.
3. REINVENTING YOUR INTRANET
When employees aren’t together in the office, it’s easy for them to feel less connected to the company and their coworkers. It can also be harder to find the tools or information they’re looking for, without someone in the next office to ask. Could your intranet fill some of those gaps? Maybe it could do a better job of highlighting your people, keeping them in the loop with more frequent leadership communications and company news and helping them find each other — to build both professional and personal connections.
4. IMPROVING CONNECTIVITY
One of the reasons remote work has been so successful over the last several months is the ability to meet via video conference. In Tribe’s national survey with corporate employees working from home due to the pandemic, one of the top concerns expressed by respondents was their internet connection. They said one of the most important things their companies could do would be to pay for more robust service. That could be as easy as upgrading their plan, but for those in rural areas, it might require hot spots or other solutions.
5. SUPPORTING WORKING PARENTS
For many families, the spring of this year was a difficult experiment in trying to homeschool while working from home. And with the uncertainty of school openings, and the likelihood that many schools will eventually need to close due to Covid-19 cases, parents of school-age children are feeling mighty stressed. You might ask these employees how the company can help. The answers could include the company offering online tutors, stipends for study pods or just providing working parents with flexibility and manager support.