The Race to Shift to Remote Work | The world of work has long known the multiple benefits of remote work and flexible work arrangements. Due to COVID-19, businesses had to accelerate the shift into remote work faster than they have anticipated.

Lockdown measures have eased, and the economy is starting to reopen. The lockdown has given companies a glimpse of remote work in the temporary lockdown. Many businesses have seen the benefits of remote work and chose not to return to their office and not renew the lease. It’s a dawn of a new era, as the savings and benefits far outweigh any incentive to go back to normal.

Remote Work Toolbox: How to Shift to Remote Work

Transitioning to new work poses a lot of new challenges. Company management have to think about setup, policy, tools, management and operations.

The decision to shift to remote work or work-from-home is a big step towards adapting to the changing times. Remote work and flexible work are both definitely becoming a common feature in many 21st century workplaces.

This is a how-to guide for employees, employers and management to shift to remote work.

Disclosure: This blog post has affiliate links, you may choose to click on them or not; but every purchase gives me a small commission and will help buy me a cup of coffee.

Remote Worker’s Toolbox

1 – SETUP & POLICY

Draft a work plan. Is remote work the best setup to your business?

To make the right decisions, ask the following:

  • Can the job tasks and responsibilities be fulfilled working remotely?
  • What will be the challenges, and how can we reduce the impact?
  • What means of communication will be used to coordinate the team?
  • How will meetings or events be scheduled?
  • How will performance be measured?
  • What are the tools the employees and management should have to ensure conducive and optimal work performance?
Some things to think about for management:
  1. Review Policies. Create procedures, and ensure setup to integrate remote work into your company. Draft revisions in terms of legal, HR, and finance terms.
  2. Review Tools and Resources. Be familiar with the technology tools and resources needed for the line of work. It’s important to know the capabilities and requirements. What kind of software and hardware will your company need?
    Test available resources, and check which needs to be upgraded and purchased. Does the remote work have sufficient internet speed? Does their laptop have the right specs? Upgrade and invest in necessary technology needs.
  3. Train Employees. The company must ensure they and their employees have read and understood the policies. Employees should be trained with the new setup. Ensure that everyone has access to technical support if ever they need assistance.
  4. Performance Measures. How will performance be measured? by hours, stages, projects, or specified benchmarks?

Your policy and processes should ensure that working remotely is feasible for work-from-home or remote work is feasible for both management and employees.

A well-drafted policy only as good as the results it brings in, especially when it transitions from in-office work to work-from-home work.

It is best to contact a lawyer to help you draft the policies in terms of legal rights and HR policies. If you need help with legal and business consulting, email us (social media links below this page)

2 – MANAGING REMOTELY

Managers now have to seek new ways of managing their employees, because of the lack of visibility between team members.

In the traditional office setting, it’s easy to check up on everyone in the office. When companies shift to remote work, it’s a new environment in itself.

For traditional work settings, it’s easy to measure the number of hours reported when working on-site. With remote work, performance metrics should be more results-oriented: e.g., no. of calls assisted, no. of projects finished, and other KPIs.

Aside from the performance, managers should prioritize team morale. Check regularly with employees, schedule daily or weekly catch-ups, and make visibility a priority.

No matter what performance metrics you use, be sure to set clear deadlines and expectations for employees. Everyone has different roles, but make sure they are accountable for their work responsibilities.

3 – ETIQUETTE & TIPS

Remote work is a completely different work environment. It is something that will require some adjustments. People often think that work-from-home would be more lax, but sometimes this isn’t the case: remote workers find they have more work to do then when they were working in the office!

Avoid work-from-home faux pas!

Here are some tips on etiquette for remote workers:

Define your workspace. A dedicated workspace is crucial to make it feel like work. There should be boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘home’ even if you are technically working at home. This will give your brain a cue that you have to deliver results.

Similarly, it’s good to dress for work too. Wearing pajamas during work hours will not motivate you to be productive. Being in ‘work clothes’ will give you a psychological effect that you are in ‘work’ mode and will deliver results.

Come prepared in your meetings. At least 15 minutes before your scheduled meeting, make sure everything is set: internet access, camera, microphone, notes, Zoom or Google Hangouts, etc.

Mute your audio when you are not speaking in conference meetings.

Set daily goals, create benchmarks, track them, and share your progress to the team. Pay attention to your processes, how long it takes to finish a task, and adjust daily, weekly and monthly goals.

Eliminate distractions and noise. It’s common to have pets, family, and children at home, but try to establish rules also in your home. The household should also be informed of the new work arrangements and how members can collaborate. Have a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign so family members will know not to interrupt you. Invest in noise-canceling headphones.

Prioritize privacy. Angle your webcam to ensure your privacy and maintain professionalism towards your clients, colleagues, and supervisors. You wouldn’t want your boss to see your spouse in a towel fresh from the shower, right?

4 – TOOLS

To jumpstart remote work arrangements, here are 14 tools to get started.

1. Reliable Internet Access

Remote work hinges on reliable internet connection. Companies must ensure internet connection is fast and reliable or else it could negatively affect the quality of work as a team. If work-from-home is not possible because of constraints, arrange a remote workspace setup.

Also, remote workers should be prepared for contingencies in case internet access is down, slow or inaccessible. Rather than rely on home internet or public internet, it is important to also have a mobile hotspot handy every time.

2. Brewed Coffee

Most of the workforce is fueled by caffeine; a good cup of coffee (or tea) will instantly boost productivity and morale, so a coffeemaker, a Nespresso machine, or even the old-fashioned French press will prove handy in any workplace.

3. Noise Cancelling Headphones.

It’s hard to work when you are working around others—either with family, children or strangers. Noise-canceling headphones are an investment, it will improve the remote employee’s concentration and get productive with some chill lo-fi playlist.

4. Dedicated Workspace

Wouldn’t it be nice to have your own cozy work nook from your home?

There are plenty of pins on Pinterest where you can gather inspiration for your dedicated workspace. Work-from-home employees should invest in an ergonomic chair, a sturdy desk table, and sufficient lighting to maximize work productivity.

If you decide to lease in a coworking space, make sure to find a space that provides cool amenities and a cool community. I’m a big fan of the multinational coworking space The Company. They are in Cebu, as well as in 8 other locations around the world including Singapore, Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, and more.

Schedule a visit at The Company Cebu IT Park bit.ly/TCCVisit and use the code TCCRachel

5. Google Drive and G-suite.

Have a secure place to store files and share documents in the cloud storage for everyone on the team to access securely. Office suites are web-based software to share files, edit documents and add comments in real-time. You can use Google’s G Suite or Microsoft Office Online.

6. Grammarly

Make your communications clear and free of grammatical errors through Grammarly. Download the app extension to your Chrome and it instantly checks your emails, documents, essays, social media posts, and tweets. It instantly improves any type of text.

7. VPN

Remote employees are recommended to use a VPN when working remotely. When getting internet access in public areas. A VPN is a way to secure your privacy and protect your digital network and communications.

VPN providers such as ExpressVPN and Ivacy guarantees your online privacy and security whenever and wherever you work.

8. Hubspot

An all-in-one marketing software, Hubspot is primarily a CRM platform for inbound marketing, sales & customer service. This platform is integral to attracting visitors, converting leads, and closing sales.

9. Zoom

Video conferencing apps such as Zoom are key to team collaboration. Work with teammates virtually and have online meetings via video conferencing. With current news of Zoom crashes, one can also seek alternatives such as GoToMeeting and Discord.

10. Slack

Slack is a chat messaging platform specifically built for business communication. It’s built with integrated tools for easy team collaboration: file sharing, project management, communications and more. Slack alternatives include Google Hangouts or Twist.

11. Paypal

Paypal is an online payments platform where you can easily collect and receive payments electronically and in real time. You can also use Payoneer, or local solutions in the Philippines such as G-cash or Paymaya.

If you sign up using my codes, you get free P50 and I get P50 too! Here are my codes:

G-cash Payoneer

12. Salarium

Salarium is a Philippine startup with a robust HR platform that can easily manage payroll and attendance.

13. Trello

A simple project management tool where you can create kanban boards with all the features you want in one place: to-do tasks, workflow, you can customize it according to your needs. Other Trello alternatives for project management tools include Asana and Redbooth.

14. Quickbooks

Wave is an accounting software where you can create and send invoices. Features include automation of invoices and recording payments.

Another accounting software is Quickbooks, produced by Intuit and developed for SMEs for cloud-based accounting applications. Quickbooks can work payroll functions, pay bills, manage payments, etc.

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