The COVID-19 Era: Adjusting to New Worklife Norms

March 27th, 2020

Each day this past week seems to start with the potential to change our lives as we know it. Few of us have experienced such a radical shock to daily life in our lifetimes, and most of us reel to adapt to a rapidly changing world while still carrying out our obligations.  

While many aspects of our personal lives are being challenged, for those lucky enough to still have work to do, we also grapple with how to maintain the consistency and productivity of our work lives.

By now, most offices look like abandoned sets from network office dramas with the exception of the occasional employee who can’t ditch their triple-monitor desk configuration or the unguarded work fridge.

For some organizations, adjusting to a virtually entire remote workforce will be natural, and few of their processes will see any significant disruption.

For others, though, the coming weeks (or months, potentially) present a bevy of worry and potential threats to their overall operations.

As your company transitions to new norms, consider the following tips as helpful benchmarks towards establishing a healthy, humming working-from-home culture:

Make sure employees are properly equipped: This a critical first step to take. Many underestimate the essentials at the office that allow them to be as productive as possible. Laptops, multiple monitors, corresponding cables (VGA, mini-VGA, HDMI, etc.), phone headset, legal pads—whatever particulars each individual needs (or realize they need once they don’t have them), ensure they have access to it as soon as possible.

Additionally, due to disrupted and over-taxed supply chains, replacing any of these essential items can take much, much longer than usual. Make sure employees know that this is a particularly bad time to spill a latte on a laptop.

Set clear expectations: While some people are naturally more productive at home, many people can struggle with the distractions and lax environment working at home presents.  

It’s important to set clear, reasonable expectations with staff at all levels to treat the coming weeks like it’s business as usual and provide tips on how to do just that.

Suggest dedicating a specific space exclusively set aside for work. Spending time early in the transition to working remotely to construct a well-equipped home office can help mitigate initial lapses in productivity; a laptop on the couch, while it sounds nice, is a recipe for disaster—especially if current conditions persist for months.

Create a thread or channel on whichever internal communication medium your organization uses dedicated to sharing what goals each team member is setting out to complete that day. Any initiative that promotes a sense of mutual goal-completing can help recreate the buzz of connectivity present at the office.

Establish good habits like these early on, and feel free to regularly check in with staff on what is or isn’t working and ask for suggestions! You may be surprised just how connected a “disconnected” team can feel with a little effort and creativity.

Leverage internal communication software: Piggy-backing off the previous tip: Teams, Slack, Skype, Zoom—whichever software your company uses, lean in on it now more than ever to promote an office-wide sense of connectivity and meaningfulness when nearly every other stimulus encourages disconnectedness.

Hold an all-hands meeting via video conferencing. Have a smaller “huddle” type video conference each morning for individual teams to simply spend time chatting and cheering one another up.

More than ever, small actions like these can have significant impacts on overall engagement, positivity, and productivity. And not just professionally, but personally as well.

A survey of 7,000 workers by Flex Jobs showed that 65% of participants reported being more productive working from home, citing fewer interruptions from colleagues, time saved from not having to commute, and fewer office politics as major reasons.

You can up those percentages by actively promoting healthy habits among your remote workforce while we all eagerly await a return to normalcy in the interim.

Bear Staffing

Struggling to find the talent your business needs to navigate through uncertain times? Bear Staffing is here to help.

Our team of industry experts has substantial experience connecting organizations with top-tier talent across multiple industries. Call us today to learn more.