Quarantine: 9 tips for quick transition to distance work

Despite the rapidly evolving world situation, the calls of doctors and governments to isolate themselves, it turned out that many companies and teams have not switched to remote work. And the point here is not always in company management. An instruction from the management may have passed, but the head of the department does not want to work from home or employees are faced with internal issues between the departments. Let’s try to figure out why? And how to solve this issue?

The company and teams always have ambitious goals and performance and this is not a reason to endanger people. You need to quickly find answers to questions related to the transition to remote work. The example of one project manager, Alex, has shown that all issues can be resolved, but the majority should be considered before. When Alex received a message about switching to remote work, he could not even imagine how many questions and approvals this could cause. What pitfalls are hidden, at first glance, by the seemingly harmless remote work and what Alex faced with:

– The ambiguous reaction of the team employees (I can’t work at home, I don’t want, you have to provide me with everything, etc.)

– How to overcome managers’ resistance?

– How to organize continuous and uninterrupted communication?

– Do all employees work on laptops that can be taken home?

– Does the company have tools allowing the usage of personal devices for corporate purposes?

– Is it possible to organize a remote and secure connection to an office computer network? We wrote about this here.

– How to get secure data access that does not go outside the office?

In an ordinary situation to arrange all these issues, the project manager needs to get around the office not just once: top management, security, system administrators, HR, accounting, etc. Maybe one of the readers sees yourself in this chain? On that occasion, all departments need to organize themselves because everyone will have to work remotely. Remote access to data may be needed not only by the project manager Alex but also by tops and the security service. We must all acknowledge and accept the situation and work in a new reality.

With the right approach and a thorough assessment of the situation, the process can be organized quickly and efficiently. After some thought and with Alex’s help, we created a checklist to simplify the transfer to distance work.

  1. Engage the HR service to form a questionnaire for employees what is needed for full-fledged remote work: devices, software, access to specific data, communication.
  2. Collect information from the heads of all departments or teams.
  3. Make the maximum list of required work resources that employees use. Check whether computers, access to corporate information, communications will work remotely.
  4. Gather all the steps of standard workflow and evaluate at what stage difficulties may arise. No one will do this for you in the current situation. Clearly check everything by yourself.
  5. Try to organize a mini rehearsal: run a normal workweek in an accelerated mode in a few hours.  If you are still in the office, then do it better in the workplace. If you have already switched to remote mode, then such actions will help you quickly find bottlenecks.
  6. Write a short checklist for your department or team: what they need to take from the office for remote work.
  7. As soon as you find gaps in the business process, immediately connect the necessary employees and treat them. Do not hope that everything will work by itself. It is necessary to consistently check each stage: how you will plan the work, how the data will be shared, the exchange of data, how you will report on the work done. After you need to test for possible bottlenecks.
  8. Be prepared now that you will have a budget overrun due to the organization of a remote mode of operation. You need to buy the necessary devices, software, accesses. Ongoing expenses for taxis, etc.
  9. Don’t let out of your sight that you will need to work closely with HR service throughout the whole remote work of the office. Some employees may not be able to withstand and leave, the team will need to be replenished. After stabilization of the situation, it turns out that some employees want to work from home or partly from home and will be asked to change the work schedule. The manager must foresee the likelihood that part of the team will have to be quickly replaced.

And again, we want to encourage all companies and employees to follow the recommendations as much as possible: stay at home and work remotely! If you can share your ideas for effective remote work with us, we look forward to hearing from you. All working issues can be resolved. We wish you all good health.