The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough on everyone. As people began working remotely, employers soon realized the need to support their telecommuting employees in new ways. And remote work has its own challenges — tech troubles, at-home interruptions and social isolation, to name a few. While there are many things employers can do to help remote workers, three important steps will make immediate differences in their work lives.
Supportive Virtual Environment
Your workers’ virtual environment should be set up to promote productivity and help them succeed. This includes powerful, easy-to-use collaboration tools. These platforms often include videoconferencing features — examples include Microsoft Teams and Slack. If yours does not, you’ll need an accessible videoconferencing platform.
Ultimately, you must choose a core suite of tools and eliminate redundancies. Also, don’t forget to live-caption your video calls. Many platforms also offer a text chat feature so non-verbal users can still participate. Your virtual environment can also benefit from custom backgrounds, which can help set a professional tone for your video calls and reduce visual distractions. You can even personalize a Zoom background, virtual background Google Meet or Teams virtual background with your company’s branding.
Access to Necessary Tools
When it comes to remote work, having the proper tools is key. A powerful and capable computer is the first requirement. Each worker should have a high-quality webcam and microphone plus a computer that supports your videoconferencing software. Any machine should have at least 4GB RAM and a dual-core 1 GHz processor or greater. HD webcams are strongly recommended.
Keep in mind that some of your workers may have older computers that are below minimum system requirements for certain tools — for example, the inability to use Zoom backgrounds Mac computers that can’t run OS X 10.13. Standard business practice is for companies to provide remote working employees with the necessary equipment to do their jobs. This is especially true since the pandemic forced many organizations to shift employees to remote work.
It’s no secret that remote work can feel isolating. We’re missing the little interactions we’d normally take for granted such as deskside chats and sharing lunchtime. Combating that isolation is important not just for productivity, morale and camaraderie. It can also mitigate the negative mental health effects of social isolation. One way you can foster some social connecting is by setting up a communication channel for non-work chat. While it can’t completely make up for in-person socializing, it’s one way that your workers can better connect with each other during remote work.
The Workplace of the Future
Remote work has brought benefits and challenges with it. With more workplaces recognizing these benefits and the uncertainty of COVID-19’s future, remote work is here to stay. Supporting your remote workforce is important for productivity, connecting as a team and creating a positive work environment. A supportive virtual environment, promoting social connecting and ensuring access to needed tools are all key to accomplishing these goals.
Provided by Davies & Associates, LLC