During these times, many employees are now working remotely.  For reference, we have summarized a list of best practices from the National Institutes of Health to help employers and employees with a transition to remote work:

1. Communication is key.

As an employer, communicate the expectations and processes for working remotely with your employees.  These conversations can ensure trust between you and your employees. Here are a few things you can do to keep communication more effective during these times:

Establish Meetings

Establish specific meetings with your employees to touch base on the remote working situation. Make sure they are aware of the best ways to reach you and provide multiple channels of communication such as phone, cell phone, alternative email, etc., in the event of technological disruption.

It’s also important to tell your employees specifically how you’d like to be reached and the best times for them to reach you. Providing as much guidance and boundaries as you can will help prevent misunderstandings and help operations stay on track.

Don’t always rely on email.  Make an effort to call colleagues through phone or videoconferencing if possible and continue to participate in team meetings.

Check-In Regularly

Aside from meetings, check-in with your employees regularly to ensure they feel included. For example, you could require workers to check-in through phone or video chat once a day or week. Or you could ask them to send you an email at the end of each workday detailing their accomplishments towards your project goals.

This is a good time to give employees the opportunity to ask any questions they may have since they are not able to just pop-in your office. Providing any project progress and updates are also essential when checking-in.

Provide Training Resources

Many people may not be familiar with working remotely, therefore, providing educational resources on this topic could be beneficial. This is a way to allow your employees to gain an understanding of your workplace expectations, policies, etc.

2. Adapt to a new approach.

Now that we’ve covered the communication aspect of working remotely, how can you adapt to this new lifestyle? Here are a few things to consider:

  • What did you do prior to prepare to go to the office? Your morning routine might feel as though you have more leeway without the usual commute but try to keep consistent with your usual routine or establish a routine that works for you.
  • Be aware that you should maintain the same professionalism and morale, just as you would in person as you may be expected to participate in video meetings.
  • Schedule lunch breaks away from the computer.
  • Get out of the house. Go for a walk during lunch or after work.
  • Set goals and daily tasks.
  • Switch it up. If you get tired of working in the same place, change the scenery from time to time if you are able to.

3. Best practices for technology.

Technology is essential when working remotely as most workers rely on some form of technology. Below are a few ways you can maximize efficiency through the use of technology:

  • Utilize a shared drive and include all applicable material about an initiative in one location. Provide samples and instruction materials as needed regarding using the shared drive.
  • Consider investing in communication tools, team management, and project platforms if they would be helpful.
  • Ensure your employees are set-up with Remote VPN or other technological needs pertaining to their position and workload.
  • Depending on your operations, make sure your employees are familiar with the use of videoconferencing, messaging, screen sharing, etc.

For more information on remote work, read more from the National Institutes of Health.

With any approach to staffing, introducing remote working into your organization may come with opportunities and challenges.

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may apply to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your plan.