01 Apr 3 Hidden Benefits of Telecommuting
As the COVID-19 virus changes the way we work and interact with others, lots of us are exclusively telecommuting for the first time. However, most companies are still trying to carry on as normally as possible. This means that employees and their bosses are trying to work on a new schedule and in a new environment while attempting to keep output at a standard level.
Even if working from home wasn’t something you ever planned on, there are some ways it can be beneficial to your business. Here are three hidden (or not so hidden) benefits of telecommuting.
1. Increased flexibility for unconventional family situations
With schools closing and most businesses requiring their employees to work from home, telecommuting allows people to create schedules that work better for their unique situations. Flexibility for employees can attract and retain talent and encourage more work to get done as employees can design their own schedules.
But telecommuting that provides a flexible schedule also requires companies themselves to provide that flexibility. You may consider a few of these ideas.
Adjust standing meeting times.
While the times you set may have worked when everyone was in the office, consider adjusting your regular schedules in order to accommodate new schedules. Shorten meetings where possible to make sure that employees are given as much time as possible to tend to their work requirements and their new homebound responsibilities.
Send emails rather than hold meetings.
Where possible, condense what would have been covered in a meeting in an email. A good rule of thumb? If you need to hold a discussion about a project or task, have a meeting. If team members just need to be informed, send an email.
Keep your employees up to date on federal guidelines for family leave.
The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act has implemented new guidelines for paid family leave. This includes employees who themselves are sick, have been instructed to self quarantine, or are taking care of others. Federal law mandates that most of these employees receive some portion of their usual salary. Check the guidelines and ensure your employees know where to find additional information if their situation changes.
2. Higher levels of productivity
Working in an office brings with it a lot of distractions. Impromptu meetings, break room chats, and last-minute projects can all pull workers away from their scheduled priorities. Working from home eliminates some of that. Without interoffice distractions, employees will have more time to work without interruptions. Here are a few ways to make working from home even better.
Schedule “no meeting” time periods on the calendar.
Once or twice a week, set aside a few-hour period where no one on the team can schedule or hold any meetings. Protect this time from other departments where possible. Of course, in an emergency, be flexible. But by setting aside a definitive period of time each week, employees have an even more dedicated working windows to accomplish tasks. If your entire department can’t do this, consider doing it just for yourself or the people you manage.
Institute non-invasive check-ins.
Instill a sense of trust in your employees by checking in without being invasive about it. There have been reports of companies employing surveillance on their remote employees. While preventing security breaches and ensuring productivity are important, instilling fear in your employees with Big Brother-type tech is not the way to do it. Set check-ins on a regular basis that allow you to check in with your boss or employee without invading their right to privacy. A weekly Zoom call, a daily email, or a task management system are all good options.
Find ways to encourage team bonding, even remotely.
At Boostability, we like to play as hard as we work. We see movies as a company, hold monthly birthday parties, and encourage each team to bond individually. But now that we’re all working from home, we’ve had to figure out ways to spend time together while keeping our social distance. Company-wide, we’ve tried a few things, like
- Virtual happy hours
- “Water cooler” Zoom chats
- Sharing photos of our WFH set ups
Whatever you decide to do, keep your teams connected.
3. A chance to improve old systems
The COVID-19 pandemic will not last forever (even though some days it certainly feel like it will). But a disruption to daily routines is the perfect chance to see faults in your current system and where you’ll need improvements upon coming back to work. Telecommuting is a great opportunity to do this.
Ask your team members to do an inventory of their current processes. Have them outline their duties and the ways they complete them, including how their work relates to other team members or departments. Review these outlines for lags in productivity and use this inventory to find ways to create better systems once work returns to normal.
A time for growth
We know that this is a scary time for business, no matter their size. We firmly stand behind you. Talk with one of our SEO experts and discover how Boostability can increase your rankings and help you emerge from the COVID-19 scare a stronger, more productive business.
Boostability is covering the COVID-19 outbreak through a series of posts designed to help you and your business succeed during this time. You can read the rest of the coverage here.