A new workforce reality: “remote first” work

Some say that coronavirus (COVID-19) has forever changed the way companies operate. I would say that it hasn’t drastically changed but accelerated the shift that was already happening. For years, business has been shifting towards a remote workforce. More companies today support employees working from home on a periodic to full time basis than just 10 years ago. 

What are the implications of remote first work for both companies and their employees? 

For companies:

  1. Communication is key.  An employee can’t walk over to their colleague or manager and ask a question. A manager can’t verbally assign a task to an employee. Seize the opportunity and invest in instant messaging software for your employees such as Slack. 
  2. Time management reigns supreme. With more remote workers, you’ll notice how many meetings could have been emails and how many emails should have been meetings. 
  3. Work anywhere, anytime. A remote, even if only partial, workforce presents an unique opportunity for organizations to recruit the best talent. You won’t be limited to the talent pool in your city. Hiring remote employees allows hiring managers to find talent anywhere in the country, or even the world. 
  4. Training has forever changed. With the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll probably run into the situation where a new hire starts, but most of the company is working from home due to social distancing. What is your new hire supposed to do? Maybe this is the time of the year when your company rolls out an organization-wide training, but not everyone is available to train or be trained. Now what? Most companies are already shifting towards online training or elearning to accomplish training anywhere anytime, but if you haven’t, this is the perfect time to start. 

For employees who are new to working from home:

  1. Take a break. Every hour or so, be sure to step away from the computer for 5-10 minutes. Make a cup of coffee, pet the dog, check your mail and stretch your legs. You’ll discover that grandma was right, going on a walk is good for you. 
  2. Don’t be embarrassed by background activity. Of course, make the necessary adjustments to your work environment to limit distractions, but if news anchors’ children can run in the background on live television, your customer will forgive you if your kids do the same during a conference call.  
  3. Remember to clock out, even if you’re not an hourly employee. There is going to be a point, usually in week two of working from home, that you’ll lose track of time. Morning, noon, and evening becomes one. Choose a time in the day that you’ll turn off the computer and put your phone, at least email and instant-messaging, in do not disturb mode. It can be easy to lose track of time and work longer hours than usual, causing faster burn out. 

OpenSesame’s mission is to help companies develop the world’s most productive and admired workforces. As the world grapples with the impact of coronavirus, we believe elearning can provide a critical and efficient path to rapidly educate employees about preventing the spread of coronavirus as well as how to work and manage remotely. 

We’ve curated a list of courses for organizations to help employees excel working from home and also staying safe during these uneasy times. These courses are made available as a public service, free of charge through 15 May 2020. Please use them to help your employees, customers, partners, and families reduce their exposure and spread of the virus. Immediate education and containment are key to saving lives.

Sign up for these free courses at go.opensesame.com/free-offer.