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How to Transform Your Business to Remote Amid the Coronavirus Lockdown

Here’s how you can transform your business even with all the uncertainty surrounding the future of work amid the coronavirus epidemic.

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What drives innovation?

Depending on whom you ask, you’re likely to get a variety of different responses. But some reasons are almost universal, such as disruption. It makes sense when you think about it…all great technological leaps are results of some kind of disruption. The modern smartphone’s success meant the end of non-interactive UIs while the same smartphones have also spelled the doom for calendars, stopwatches, calculators, and notepads to some extent.

However, these disruptors aren’t necessarily always positive. Sometimes, they’re born out of desperation and the need of the hour. While working from home has always existed, it has never been practiced in such uniform measures by corporations around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re an MNC located in California, a startup operating from London or just a simple SME in India…all have had to adapt.

Since its outbreak in January of 2020, the novel coronavirus epidemic has paralyzed the world economy. It has had devastating economic, social, and political impact. These impacts will likely continue to affect us in the short-to-long term. But that has stopped businesses from shutting shop, at least metaphorically. While most corporations have indeed closed their office spaces and instructed their staff to work from home, this transformation hasn’t been easy.

This adaptation to work from home comes easily to some because of the nature of their work, while it can be challenging for others. However, it is important to understand one underlying reality…we could be stuck working from home for a while. The next great disruptor is upon us and companies that do not come to terms with it will undoubtedly fall.

At the same time, companies that do proactively accept this change and prepare mentally as well as methodically for it can have a decisive competitive edge over their competitors although you don’t want to micromanage your new remote employees, you’ll also have to make sure they are staying on task and focused. Using Softwares and services like employee monitoring software can help you make sure your employees are getting work done and staying diligent. So, how can businesses transform their businesses to ensure stability and even growth in the time to come? Read on to find out more.

Time to Re-evaluate your Core Values

This may seem a lot easier than it is. The primary reason is that it involves a company to restructure how it has operated in terms of mindset. Just to be clear, your core values are fundamental to your identity as a company.

However, these changing times mean that you will have to re-evaluate whether you can continue to service those core values as well as you had hoped. This also presents an opportunity for you to recalibrate your team and the goals you wish to achieve.

While being ambitious is good, it can be counterproductive too if you’re not reasonable in your assessment of what can be achieved. This re-assessment can be decisive in terms of recognizing potential new avenues for your company as well as letting your employees know that you’re willing to adapt to the present market conditions.

Hierarchy of Communication

This is a direct offshoot of the first point. Once you decide that the time is ripe for you to re-evaluate your core values, you must look at your hierarchy of communications. Gone are the days of CEOs sitting in their large oak offices while only interacting with their employees at times of corporate functions.

Jayson Demers, Founder at Email Analytics. says “Set expectations for each of your employees or team members so that they understand what a “successful” day or output looks like. Don’t measure their productivity based on how many hours they worked; rather, measure it based on the value of their output.”

Companies that wish to excel in the modern world will need to create a bridge between the management and the employees. The best way to do so is by modifying (or in some cases eliminating) the current hierarchy of communication.

Sam Olmsted, Search and Content Director at Online Optimism advises “To successfully transition your business into an effective remote workforce, it’s vital to increase the frequency of internal communication, rely on software tools to stay on track, and be as helpful as possible to clients or customers”


Sam further says “At our digital marketing company, we have at least three mandatory check-ins with supervisors each day, use tools like Slack, Asana, and UberConference to stay connected with our teams, and provide free resources to our clients that help them get through difficult financial circumstances”

This will raise further challenges of its own such as the exact authority of mid-level managers as well as exactly how much exposure does the management want with the employees. However, on the positive side, this could mean that the management can be increasingly clear about what goals it wants the employees to achieve. Furthermore, it encourages a culture of transparency within the organization, something that naturally breeds trust and respect.

Embrace Technology

Sometimes it can be hard for corporations, big and small to fully embrace new waves of technology. As asinine as it may seem, it is understandable. Who would want to risk millions on new technology that could easily go south?

However, this lockdown means that these worries are somewhat alleviated. Communication apps and providers are working overtime to cater to the new evolved needs of companies in terms of communication as well as other tasks.

Kas Andz founder of Kas Andz Marketing Group suggests investing handsomely in cloud-based technology. He further says “We’re living in an era where data ought to live in the cloud for easy access at one’s own convenience. Remote working is sometimes accompanied by working in different geographical areas due to different reasons. Turns out, there’s a need for employees to work effectively regardless of the location. Therefore, investing in cloud-based technology is a perfect approach. For effective conversations, using cloud meeting apps such as Zoom and Skype helps strengthen the bond between both parties”

There has hardly been a better time to test these apps out on a wider scale considering they’re working overtime to ensure a smooth operation. Here are just some digital tools and apps that could positively impact your team’s productivity.

Skype

It’s surprising how it seems that nearly every corporation relies on this app as their primary means of internal communication. What makes it so easy to use is the fact that it doesn’t try too hard i.e. there’s no overflow of features. However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some of the most essential features at all.

Users can create multiple groups meant for specific purposes, quote others’ messages, forward said messages, have live calls with multiple participants, and most importantly, share files. While these may seem like basic features, they can end up saving companies the hassle of having different apps for these purposes.

Similarly, it can help in keeping a direct line of communication between different layers of employees to ensure that everyone knows that they can seek out help from the appropriate corners if they need it.

Assembla

How do you ensure practical oversight of what your employees are up to without becoming an Orwellian caricature? Most companies and managers are often torn between having to maintain full overnight or no oversight at all. Assembla is meant to address that unnecessary choice.

Managers can create a network that operates as a daily task monitor but does not require more than a simple input of what an employee is up to for a given day. Employees can keep their managers updated on their day’s work without needing to deal with unnecessary details.

Similarly, managers can see what their employees are working on and it allows them to keep themselves updated on their employees’ work progress without becoming overbearing. A win-win situation for both parties.

Google Calendar

It has become one of the most essential apps for numerous companies since the lockdown started. Google Calendar is exactly what it sounds like, a calendar for the entire team. It brings much-needed structure as it allows employees to plan out their days’ and month’s activities, ensure there’s no clash with other employees, and most importantly, balance out their workload.

These are just some of the apps that companies, managers, and their employees can start using. There are numerous other apps like Zoom, Jira, and Bitbucket that have their distinct purposes but can bring tremendous amounts of efficiency to your company during, and probably after this lockdown.

Develop a Way Forward

It is unclear now as to what the future looks like. There are reports that we could be stuck in a lockdown for the foreseeable future, while others claim it’s a matter of a few more months. In either case, it is undeniable that the world as we know it will be a much different place.

That will have a noticeable impact on how companies operate. It is imperative that you have a detailed plan on how you’ll approach welcoming your employees back once the lockdown is lifted. Employees coming back will have gotten used to a certain lifestyle, as well as a certain way of working.

On the other hand, you should also be prepared in case the work from home routine goes on for longer than you had initially expected. The fact of the matter is, having a bunch of contingency plans is necessary for stability. In a world that is filled with uncertainty right now, it would help your company’s culture if you had a list of possible options in place.

This would give your employees an idea of how you wish to operate in the future and allow them to plan their work as well as career accordingly.

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