The past weeks have been unprecedented—truly historic—regarding the global human resources implications due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing COVID-19 disease. Typically, we address our articles to leadership professionals in the workplace. However, in light of the current situation, this article is for anyone, at any level of an organization, who has found themselves thrust, without warning, into working remotely.
Many such employees have contacted us, having been told by equally unprepared leadership, “It’s not safe to come into the office. Just do what you normally do, but do it from home.”
Organizations, some of our clients among them, have abruptly shifted into panic mode. You may be reading this article having found yourself also suddenly having to work from home instead of from your customary office or workplace.
Understandably, many organizations were caught unawares, and are not equipped to handle the logistics of managing people remotely. Regardless, organizations still need to operate, to serve their customers and remain solvent.
While it has caught nearly everyone, indeed the country, off guard, it is of utmost importance that you, as an employee who draws wages from your employer, come to grips with the fact that you must remain impactful if you and the organization is to survive. When organizations succeed, they can pay their employees who, in turn, can support their families and the communities in which they live.
So, let’s review some areas that will help make you successful while working remotely. These features are proven to work, and have been used successfully by individuals who were assigned remote work, not out of crisis but more often the result of being geographically distant from coworkers.
5 Pointers to Help You Succeed as a Remote Employee
- Establish workspace boundaries – Ensure a good working environment, a dedicated space to do your work. Can you shut the door against distractions when you need to work and otherwise maintain a good work–life balance?
- Ensure your ability to concentrate – Will children, friends, or other personal obligations regularly interrupt you?
- Stay organized – Can you make a schedule and stick to it? Will you create checklists to keep you on track?
- Promote and maintain productivity – Have you been provided expectations and goals? Can you obtain help quickly if you hit an obstacle?
- Maintain your focus and fitness – Can you take short, regular breaks throughout the day to stay fresh and avoid fatigue or burnout?
What single safeguard makes telecommuting most effective? A job description!
There’s no question that it’s preferable to have done the groundwork and crafted a solid job description for yourself before telecommuting. When employees find themselves thrust into working remotely, without the necessary preparations, trouble often lies ahead.
A job description is not only important from an employee empowerment standpoint; it’s a strategic necessity. Both your and your organization’s productivity and growth can be stymied when skills and competencies are unknown or undefined variables. Be detailed and specific about the requirements placed on you, and make sure they are part of your job description.
Finally, if you are concerned about your longevity with your employer, help create a process to make it hard for them to dismiss you. As a human resources expert, I almost always find employee terminations or separations from organizations are the result of the employee being viewed as not contributing to the organization. But that’s not always the employee’s fault. Many times this is management’s fault, because they failed to furnish key guidance or measurable metrics designed to enable employees to perform successfully.
If your organization has failed in this area, make it a point to do it yourself. Develop key measurements and a daily schedule that you can share with your leadership that validates why they need you.
In our next article, we explore the above five tips further: workspace boundaries, the ability to concentrate, self-organization, productivity, and focus and fitness, in order to better help you to succeed as a remote employee. With the right approach, it can be done.
Are you or your organization struggling to navigate these tumultuous times? Contact us by e-mail here.