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Coping with Crisis: Preparing Your Company For Working Remotely

With a global health crisis in full swing, more and more businesses are opting for remote working. We are not pretending to be experts on crisis management and nor is the expectation for your staff that you are. They are simply looking for leadership, expecting that you have thought through the risks and prioritise their wellbeing. 

We have put together a guide on steps to take and questions to ask..

This is designed for companies who are not normally remote in their working style and therefore their handbooks and contracts are not set up for the change. 

Recommended steps

  1. Set a clear and responsible tone on how you expect your staff to behave at a basic level; not coming into the office if they have symptoms and self managing the process (logging on your HR system, managing their personal health, updating regularly). 
  2. Understand the individual circumstances of your employees. This is an overhead but it’s important given the current situation (more detail on this below).
  3. Offer clarity on the company policy if remote working becomes the norm and not the exception (checklist of topics to run through below).

Individual circumstances 

Employees who:

  • Care for elderly parents
  • Look after young children 
  • Have suppressed immune systems themselves
  • At risk of receiving unpleasant treatment from others based on their race
  • Travel a long way to reach their place of work
  • Juggle other jobs 

Staff who fall into these categories need to have individual arrangements simply because there are more variables and considerations to take into account. Your position isn’t to completely prioritise the company or your expectations for their output, it’s about giving that person more flexibility to juggle everything and make sure their needs are heard.

 

Topics to cover 

When drafting your remote working policy:

  • File storing: do you have a central drive and enforce use of this?
  • Video conferencing: do you have a subscription to this technology?
  • Password sharing software: a must have regardless of remote working (Lastpass / Dashlane)
  • Equipment: is everyone set up appropriately? In the short term, providing laptops alone is fine and many people will have screens set up at home anyway. Some won’t however and if the current health crisis continues, this issue of “who pays” will surface. Discuss internally and make a fair decision that works for all.
  • What internal messaging software will you use? Todoist or Slack are great.
  • Company culture: if face to face interactions are off the table, how do you intend to maintain and improve this? 
  • Switching off: a surprising issue for remote workers is too much work
  • Personal v professional interaction: having a “random” messaging channel for non work discussions makes the distinction clear
  • Dress code: is this important to you? Do you still want to see people’s faces during meetings? Or it doesn’t matter.
  • Productivity: how are you measuring that staff are delivering? Remote and flexible often requires a mindset shift from all parties in order to work successfully. For companies, it’s about letting go and putting the onus on the person themselves to self manage, making clear the consequences when they don’t. For professionals it’s about taking a greater sense of ownership, planning more thoroughly about what can be delivered when and why / not.

Most of you will have a flexible working policy that works for you. If not, feel free to use our template and adjust it until it works for you. 

Our whitepaper Creating high-performance cultures using flexible working might also be helpful. 

Stay safe and well.

The Juggle Team

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