The much-documented surge in people working from home over the last few years has been inspired by advancing technology and supported by economic advantages.
However, both the digital workplace and remote working are now undergoing an enforced shift of immeasurable proportions. Companies and their staff are being obliged to transfer staff to home working by Covid-19. This wide-sweeping development is also at a pace that no-one could possibly have envisaged, with the switch to remote working becoming an imperative in just the past few weeks.
Is your business ready for remote working?
For organisations who have not yet built their digital infrastructure to cope with this degree of remote working, the ramifications are serious. They will need to consult experts swiftly and make sure their intranet software is agile and responsive enough to accommodate the demands of a dispersed workforce.
Another issue is one of personal preference: not everyone thrives when working from home, and those who don’t will find the shift even more difficult.
Myths and misconceptions about working in a dispersed team are just one of the reasons why some people are reluctant to work from home. But with remote working now enforced for the majority of people, these fears and anxieties will need to be addressed promptly in order for people to adjust to the “new normal”.
How digitising work processes helps
This is when having well-configured intranet software comes into its own, as it already has the ability to cater for remote workers’ needs.
For example, you could create a dedicated e-learning course for staff who are new to remote working. This will help boost their confidence and give them the tools to function well under their new working environment.
It’s also important that line managers structure and regulate all communications and collaboration options to be more open and engaging. This can mean checking that the entire team is using them effectively and then stepping in to top up one-to-one engagement with home-based staff who may be struggling.
Does everyone in your workforce have access to an intuitive intranet dashboard that they understand, they use well, and which offers good access to immediate help and support? If the answer is yes, your newly dispersed team will feel a great deal more ‘at home’ with your technology-based business functions.
Mental health and remote working
Under such trying times, when even more of your staff are isolated and working independently, you also need to make sure that emotionally intelligent leadership steps up a gear.
For all the commercial concerns you have in the boardroom and executive teams, there are kernels of worry festering in your new remote workers. Indeed, your entire digital workplace is a hotbed of concern for the future.
This makes it more important than ever before to communicate well from above, and allow questions, ideas, and social interaction to flow naturally through your intranet software funnels.
There is nothing more insidious or demoralising than being ‘in the dark’ or under-appreciated, so make sure you constantly communicate with your staff. Not only will this help alleviate any fears, it will also help staff share your corporate vision for how you will get thought the current challenges together, and gives them authentic insight into how they can contribute to positive action.
This openness should extend to giving your home-based staff more opportunities for general chit-chat on corporate social networks. Social feeds help home workers to feel engaged and listened to, and replicates the emotional support that’s been dismantled by enforced isolation. They can chat to colleagues freely, share knowledge, and prove that they are not alone in their concerns and questions. If ever there was a time when your organisation needs a digital social forum for staff, it’s now!