During the coronavirus pandemic, both established businesses and new startups have struggled to keep their doors open. This is partly because the number of in-store shoppers has been greatly reduced and partly because keeping employees safe amidst the highly contagious coronavirus has proven almost impossible. To weather the impact of this unprecedentedly catastrophic pandemic, employers have been forced to accommodate flexible working, notably working from home. This has been hard for many people who had previously never tried telecommuting, but it’s also taught us many things that we didn’t know.
For businesses that operate in international markets, the main lesson they’ve learned is that they need to partner with global PEO in order to keep employees safe during a pandemic and still maintain good levels of output and service. In a normal business environment, PEOs offer employers greater access to top talent and help them meet all legal employment requirements within a foreign labor market. At a time when managing multinational entities has proven to be extremely challenging, multinational businesses have benefited greatly from PEOs providing flexible work arrangements for their international teams. CEOs can’t even travel to meet their teams due to the ongoing plane grounding and movement restrictions in almost all countries, so they need help.
With that in mind, whether or not your business was well-prepared to go remote, here are 4 lessons that we’ve all learned through telecommuting:
Bosses are working from home. Employees are working from home. Freelance marketers and influencers are working from home. Everyone is home, but we all still have to network and collaborate with each other. Most workers didn’t have home offices before COVID-19, and it’s likely that no one was truly prepared for the work arrangement we’ve been forced to adopt. Even seasoned freelancers are struggling to find their productivity now that everyone is home, meaning there are more distractions compared to when kids are at school. One thing that has helped people cope with the change has been top-notch organizational skills. Remote working has taught us that bosses don’t have to breathe down their subordinates’ necks to get results. They just need to give their employees the know-how and the freedom to organize their schedules and manage their time on their own.
The TV, bed, fridge, phone, and house chores are right there screaming for your attention, as are your pets and family members. But employees have learned the art of being disciplined and in control of every situation, no matter how tempting it may be. Before coronavirus, people would swear how hard it is not get caught up in office politics and drama; how impossible it is to ignore at-work distractions. Now that they’ve experienced real distractions, concentrating at work after coronavirus will be a breeze.
The ultimate collaboration tool, whether remotely or in person, has to be trust. Corporate leaders have learned that without building trust with their employees and clients, any hope of business growth is an illusion. Businesses that overlooked trust and instead focused solely on sales have had it rough in our current environment. Their micromanagement tactics aren’t working now, plus making sales to clients without first establishing a basis of trust has become almost impossible. Everything right now is running on trust.
Clear communication channels, both vertical and horizontal, have proven to be essential. Companies that invested in proper communication infrastructure long before the pandemic have had an easy time making the transition to remote working. On the other hand, for companies that only started experimenting with video calling solutions once the pandemic started, things may not have been so smooth. Going forward, companies need to invest heavily in employee Wi-Fi networks, VPNs to encrypt communications between employees and the company, and laptops and smartphones for employees. Marketing departments, on the other hand, will have to rethink how they package their post-coronavirus ads. They will need to invest more in official websites and social media messaging in order to maintain fruitful communication lines with their clients, especially now that most clients will be shopping online.
Working from home has been both a curse and a blessing for many people. Everyone has had to make major adjustments in order to accommodate this new reality, and chances are these changes are here to stay. Many people have always thought that remote work isn’t for everyone, but the pandemic has made it clear that with the right strategies, it’s possible to hand over most corporate duties to remote teams without seeing a dip in productivity or performance. It’s now up to business leaders to make remote working experiences better and more fulfilling going forward.