Amid the pandemic, many companies have been thrust into the realms of remote working at very short notice. For some businesses, many roles just cannot be done off-site, for example, you can’t take a helicopter home and maintain it on your kitchen table. However, for many employers, having remote-working employees will become a way of life and may become more commonplace on the over side of the pandemic.
Trust your employees
You recruited each employee. You have business structures and documented processes in place. You have trained everyone in their role. You measure performance, and that's independent of their physical location. Remember they are in a newly-found situation too, and they are probably more concerned about the longevity of their job than you are about how to manage them.
The worst thing an employer can do is to try to micro-manage remotely-located employees. Set up regular team conference calls and (at least initially) consider a fortnightly or monthly company-wide call to maintain confidence in your employees. Particularly remember those who have not worked remotely before, those who live alone and may rely on office camaraderie, and the mental health of your workforce overall.
Messaging and work hours
Communication is the key to making remote working a success for your team. Always pick up the phone in preference to email. Encourage employees to keep to their normal office work hours. Remember their living situation – you have no right to insist on your laptop intruding on their home life. Only allow that rule to be broken if your employee is talking with customers out of time zone.
A number of organisations are now realising that their IT systems are not resilient in times of crisis. Use this pandemic as an opportunity to improve. Here are four key opportunities to consider
Internet Protocol phone system - accessed via headphones into your laptop or by a separate headset. You can still have a direct dial number, so your contacts have no idea that you are working remotely.
Cloud software - Turn your software into an expense instead of an asset. Backups etc are handled by the service providers. Win/Win!
VPN Virtual Private Network - minimum security needed for accessing your server by employees working off site.
Encryption Software - What happens if your employee’s laptop gets stolen? With remote workers, you need to think about this.
What will the “new normal” look like?
Take the opportunity to see what opportunities this “new normal” gives you, as it is quite likely your organisation will look permanently different post-lockdown. Remember that your employees are working out their “new normal” too, and that transition will need managing too.
Are you running out of office space as you expand? Are there some in your team who would actually prefer to work remotely and save you space? In countries such as the UK, employees can legally request to work from home, and unless there are compelling reasons that they can’t do that, an employer cannot stand in their way.
About the Author
Jeremy Parkin launched the world's first helicopter industry news website in 1999, and has focused his aviation journalism on the rotary-wing world ever since. His website HeliHub.com brings together both news stories, safety data and Jeremy's insight on the industry, which is under-pinned by an extensive network of contacts.
HeliHub is run by a globally based team. Jeremy worked for one of the largest IT companies for a number of years, and managed teams spread around the globe from his home office in the UK. With so many people now working remotely in the current pandemic, Jeremy also brings expertise for those companies and employees suddenly thrust into the realms of working apart instead of face-to-face.
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 23rd April 2020 | Issue #554
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