Managing Remote Working When Your Office is at 50 Percent Capacity
June 18, 2020 | Education
Before the pandemic hit, we wrote an article about effectively managing a remote team.
While a lot of the advice still stands, we could never have predicted that we’d be in a situation where offices across the country are filled at between 17 percent and 50 percent capacity for the foreseeable future. Or that some of the biggest tech companies are happy for their workers to move out of state and work remotely for good.
How can you make sure that people who need to continue to shelter in place for their health or their family don’t get left behind? And how can you be sure that people in the office feel that they’re safe at work and still connected to the wider team?
Here are eight quick tips.
- Make sure your processes and procedures are well mapped-out.
The past three months have been chaos. Make sure that no one returns to the office with any questions outstanding about what’s expected of them, what changes have been made, how often they can be in the office, and how long the rules will be in place.
- Stream your social initiatives.
It might not feel safe for lots of people to drink together indoors for a while. But it’s likely that your employees will want to spend downtime together after not seeing each other for so long. Try setting up a projector outside (space and weather permitting). The chances of spreading the virus are around 20 percent lower outside than inside. A Twitch game evening, trivia night or yoga class could be shared with your remote staff on Zoom and bring together people in the office safely.
- Do a lunch and learn.
Ask your team to prepare 30-minute presentations on anything from good time management, to recovering your creativity. Eating and learning together in person and on Zoom could be a nice communal moment for the people in your organization.
- Understand productivity might look different for the first few weeks.
Just as it took time to adjust to working remotely, it’ll take office-based staff time to get back into the rhythm of working at an office again.
- Encourage continued use of video chat.
Even in the office, normalize the practice of Zoom calls and use of your chat function. Cramming people together in small meeting rooms isn’t safe for their health and could make remote employees feel like they’re missing out.
- Try to avoid bringing back people by team.
If possible, bring willing office-workers back by last name or even star sign to have a mix of people represented. That way, your employees will know that who is in the office isn’t a value-based decision.
- Allow flexible work hours.
At home, we’ve all gotten used to working longer hours. Cutting out our commutes has given us back one to three hours in the day, and many of us linger online from first thing until late evening. Some people were making room in their day for teaching their children or checking in on relatives. Allow more freedom as you reopen. Also, make sure that people in the office don’t get caught working longer hours to keep up with people who are at home.
- Make people as mobile as possible.
Encourage everyone who is in the office to take home their laptops every night and to hotdesk. Even if they never experience an active coronavirus, it’s likely at some point everyone will experience COVID-like symptoms. It could just be a dry cough or allergies, and they’ll have to stay home for two weeks to be safe.
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