Since March 2020, many states have enforced a “COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order“, which in effect is requiring all non-essential workers to work from home, when possible, as a way to help slow the spread of the virus.
Non-essential businesses are working with their workforce to stay as productive as possible during this time, asking many to work from home if possible. The stress over coronavirus is very real for many businesses already, with at least 316 million people being urged to stay home, leaving the home for only essential needs such as food, doctor or a short walk outside for exercise and fresh air.
For millions of Americans, working from home is a common way of life; however, for businesses adding a large part, if not all, of their workforce to work from home can be a productivity nightmare. For employers, working from home carries detriments—the most being employee productivity.
To help employers and employees keep up the productivity of day-to-day business, creating boundaries and best practices is highly recommended. Below are tips companies can embrace to help keep your employees working productively, minimizing the impact to their business.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
It can’t be stressed enough of how important communication between employers and employees, peer to peer and employee to client during normal business practices is to the business, but it becomes even more important when your entire workforce is working from home. Communication is the best way to ensure everyone is on the same page and the same expectations.
- Working Hours: Ensure both employer and employees are clear on the working hours for the company, will overtime pay be impacted (where applicable) and what meetings will they be essential to attend.
- Daily/Weekly Check-ins: Helping your employees feel supported throughout this stay-at-home order is imperative to an employees mental health and productivity. Scheduling a call or Zoom meeting to discuss urgent matters, client issues or even just to check in on your employees well being.
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Ensure employees are clear on the SOPs of the company and how to escalate issues easily and quickly.
Related Article: Helpful Resources for Small Businesses during CoronaVirus Pandemic
Provide Productivity Tools and Resources:
The ability to access documents and tools remotely can help contribute to the productivity of your workforce.
- Task List: Creating a to-do or task list will help promote communication, as well as help managers keep track of the workload of each employee, providing support when needed. Most companies use online platforms, such as Salesforce.com, to help track inbound calls and project tasks & deadlines.
- Online Tools: with majority of the workforce working from home due to CoronaVirus, many companies like Zoom, Amazon and Microsoft provide free or low cost solutions.
- Computer and Phone Access: While a large majority of Americans own smartphones, they may not have access to a desktop or laptop to be productive while working from home. Ideally, if a company can provide a loaner to their employees, we recommend this. If an employee is using their own computer and phone for work, will the company reimburse employees for the use of their personal devices.
Keep a Routine while Working-from-Home
Having a routine provides us with normalcy and a sense of structure, needed more during this time of uncertainty. Employers can help your employees feel comfortable with following a routine to minimize the ‘guilt’ they may have from working from home.
- Take 5 Mins Regularly: Proactively scheduling breaks throughout the work day can help avoid burnout. Recommend taking 5 minutes every hour – refill your water bottle, take a bathroom break or take a brisk walk outside, when possible.
- Create a work area at home: It’s very easy, when working from home, to working from bed, but can often lead to unproductive workdays. Setting up a designated work area, when possible, at home can make a world of difference and free from distractions.
- Dress Professionally: While no one is expecting their employees to work from home in trousers and button down blouses/shirts, dressing the part at home can help with productivity as it helps put employees in the right mindset to focus on the business ahead.
Have additional tips, feel free to share them with us in the comments section. #StayHome #StaySafe We are in this together!