The coronavirus quarantine has become a challenge for business owners. Many employers are faced with the question of how to quickly move their employees to telecommuting without losing efficiency. Should you consider telecommuting as a long term prospect?
In this article we will tell you how to organize remote work: workplace, communication, setting and tracking tasks, control over execution. Text by https://yurovskiy.name/
Organization of remote work
Let’s start with the fact that not everyone can be transferred to telecommuting – it all depends on what kind of duties the particular employee or the whole department performs. If a person has worked at a computer before, and all he or she needs is software and an Internet connection (+ some paper documents), then it will not be a problem to transfer such an employee to remote work.
For example, you can send secretaries, marketing specialists, and various managers to work at home. Drivers, couriers, and people with a working specialty cannot be transferred to remote work.
What should the employer provide
Access to corporate services
Employees should have access from personal or corporate notebooks to all the services which they worked with in the office – CRM, databases, workflow systems, telephony, corporate mail. And also to the software that was connected in a remote work environment, such as a cloud service for video conferencing. You need to create accounts in time and distribute them to employees.
It is also necessary to solve the issue with remote administration, so that in case of software failure, the IT staff can solve the problem. The TeamViewer program can be used for this purpose.
Protecting corporate data
You need to think ahead about how to organize data protection so that none of the employees or their household members can copy, distribute or damage it. This task should be assigned to security and IT departments.
The minimum for organizing data protection is:
- Strict delineation of access rights for different categories of employees within the service;
- Two-factor identification by sms at each login to the service;
- Restricting copying and downloading functions (this is done in the software settings), for example, blocking the right mouse button;
- Protection of communication channels.
The work plan
The general director should set tasks to the heads of departments, and they should divide them into smaller tasks for each employee. As a result, there should be a plan for at least a week (this period is easier to control remotely). Each employee must have a clear understanding of his task and its deadline. As well as its role in the team.
Also, each manager and employee should be given job descriptions – how to work remotely (from setting the task to closing it).
A platform for communication
To get your employees to work remotely, set up an environment for communication and collaboration. This can be a project management service + messenger for quick feedback. Make two chats – one for work, and one for communication between employees on all other issues in their free time. This will keep the team spirit and make up for the lack of live communication in the office. Below we will tell in detail what services can be used.
Be sure to set clear rules for communication, so you don’t have to look for employees while you’re working on a project, such as
- Respond to emails no later than 24 hours, except on weekends;
- Be in touch during business hours in case of urgent questions;
- Provide a progress report once a week;
- Participate in meetings.
What an employee should do
The efficiency of work remotely depends not on control, but on how self-organized and disciplined the employee is. In order not to lose productivity, we advise you to organize a comfortable workplace at home and take a few rules as a basis:
- You should understand that working at home is not a vacation or a vacation, avoid temptations and everything distracting;
- Make sure that everything works without interruptions – provide yourself with a stable Internet connection, pay your bills on time, buy a normal computer and a headset;
- To concentrate better, you can organize yourself a schedule similar to the office – for example, work from 9:00 to 18:00 with a break for lunch;
- Take 10-minute breaks every hour to rest from the computer and relieve stress, while you can get some fresh air or exercise;
- Choose a comfortable place to work at home, so that everything you need is at hand;
- Explain to the family that you are not at a resort, but at work and you can not be jerked at any time to play with the child or walk the dog.
If you’ve explained everything to your family, but you keep getting yanked – lock yourself in a separate room. In any case, this is ideal, otherwise you can be distracted by even just someone else’s walking back and forth. If this is not possible (for example, you live in a one-bedroom with three children, six dogs, and in-laws) – pull yourself together and put on earplugs. More helpful headphones with sound isolation, you can turn on light music in the background. If that didn’t help either, move out.
Programs and services for remote work
Use special programs and services to structure and control the work process.
To set tasks and control their fulfillment
CRM is a system of management of relations with clients. Each client is assigned to an employee in it, and the history of interaction is recorded. CRM can be developed specifically for your business or you can connect your employees to third-party services. If the duties of the employee is to work with calls, the service must be integrated telephony with call recording. If you already had a CRM before the remote service – just give your employees access to it.
Trello is a cloud service for project management. You can create a card for each task and assign it to an employee. You can make “In Progress,” “Done,” and “In Improvement” columns and move cards there. In each card, you can leave comments and attach files. You can subscribe to a particular column and get an e-mail alert every time someone moves a card there.
Wrike is a service for project management. It features collaborative work on documents, a newsfeed, discussions, integration with cloud storage, and time accounting. Similar services: Neaktor, Worksection.
CakeHR is a software for personnel management. Here you can set a goal for each employee and mark progress. There is a calendar where you can mark the absence of an employee, for example, during vacation.
Google services – services from Google should be on the list of must-haves when working with documents together. Employees should not have any local files on their personal computer – only cloud files. In addition to working with documents, Google has convenient messaging services and video calls (Google Meat), a cloud drive to store files in Google Drive, Google Forms, and more.
Separately, I would like to mention Google Calendar – make sure to use this service. Connect all your employees to it and mark every online meeting in it. This way, your employees won’t miss anything. At the end of the online meeting, publish the main tasks and talking points of the meeting for all employees in the chosen communication platform.
Messengers – it is convenient to create chats in messengers. As we wrote above, you need one working chat and one for communication between employees. Telegram, Whatsapp are suitable for this purpose.
Slack is a corporate messenger for teamwork. You can create a separate chat for each topic, there is integration with external services and your own mobile application. Links to external resources are displayed in the chat with snippets.
Skype – this service is convenient to arrange joint audio or video conferences, you can also create a joint chat.
Google Meat – service for video meetings.
Zoom is a platform for online classes and video conferencing. There is real-time content transfer and messaging, as well as interactive features like polls, a “show of hands” function to ask a question.
Controlling employees in remote work
How do you control results, analyze and make adjustments when working remotely? The wrong way is to control the time at the workplace. Employees in the office are not always disciplined, and at home they may be even less at their PCs when they are not used to it. Strict supervision causes only stress, but does not add efficiency.
Therefore, the main thing to focus on is the fulfillment of specific tasks. To control the results are suitable services mentioned above – CRM, project management systems, regular reports, communication via messengers.
For example, set tasks in Trello and specify a deadline. Have the employee move the card with the completed task to the “Done” column – you will be notified immediately by email. If the employee has completed the task well and on time – great, if not and it continues systematically, then he or she is not suitable for remote work.
If the specifics of your business imply the solution of urgent tasks, when you need to be in touch all the time – discuss this with the employees in advance. For example, let them say hello in a chat at the beginning of the day and make a mini-report on the work done at the end of the day. Or warn them that you can call them at any time within working hours, and the employee should connect to chat and other services right away.