Coronavirus, Covid-19 has made its way to South Africa with infection rates climbing daily. What does this mean for SA's businesses and economy, and how can you adapt your businesses to mitigate losses during this time?
Remote Working - A Business Solution for Tomorrow's Businesses
At OfficeBox, we strive to be the best in our industry and offer our customers up-to-date technology to place their online stationery and office supplies orders. In order to fulfil this promise, we've had to employ top of the range technologies to help our business operations compete and flourish.
Using robust and competent technologies have helped us carve out a very specific niche in our industry - that of leading online stationery solution for your home, business or school. In order for us to remain on the forefront of great service, we've structured a system for our employees to complete their respective roles whether in office or from their homes, and you can too ...
Benefits of Remote Work for Employers and Employees
Fast-forward to our current climate and our particular business operation has held us in good stead. We're still able to function and operate as usual through our online business model, with the only restriction being that we unfortunately cannot fulfil any of our deliveries during Covid-19 lockdown as per SA's regulations. So, how are we able to still continue our marketing and retail services?
How Businesses can Mitigate Loss through Adopting Remote Working
Facilitating a home office space for you and your employees during this time and largely going forward, will enable you and your teams to still continue tackling daily tasks and getting on with business as usual (or as far as possible).
At the forefront of getting your employees 'remote work ready' is trust and responsibility. To be sure, not every employee may be able to tackle a work-from-home scenario, but for those that are, there's a need to trust your employees, and a need for them to equally be responsible in getting the job done. Once this relationship is established, it's time to get your employees set up for remote working.
Get your Business Remote Work Ready
Before your employees run off and get their home offices set up, there are a few situational and operational factors that need to be considered and accounted for:1. Conduct a company-wide assessment
Lay out a remote work plan for your business and employees, but first start with an assessment of your teams and equipment. Are your employee's internet connections stable, do they have access to the necessary hardware - laptops, headphones, a mouse and keyboard?
2. Define your organisation's remote-work policies
It's important to ensure work efficiencies from your staff by outlining a detailed work policy. This gives them a complete understanding of what is expected from them, and allows you to set goals and benchmarks for your teams to work toward. Details of your remote work policy should include ...
- Detailed Work Schedules - outline the work times or hours expected from employees
- Results-Driven Expectations - clear benchmarks and KPIs you want your staff to deliver on
- Tools - a list of hardware/software needed, and a chance for staff to onboard
- Productivity Tracking - measure staff outputs through tools like Time Doctor or Teamwork
3. Onboard your Teams to your Software Tools
Once there's a clear definition of expectations, you should set up onboarding and training for all your employees to introduce them to the selected software or hardware that they're set to work on from their home office space.
Our organisation uses HubSpot as our CRM. The many features of our sales and marketing platform means that every part of our organisation can be mapped out and planned. We have a digital marketing manager and HubSpot specialist, Kurt, who continues to push the boundaries of our business model in line with our chosen software.
The benefit of having an employee adept at your software means that they can train, implement and onboard our team to the myriad of features we employ on our business platform. So too should you fully train your employees, be it through online tutorials, community forums, or having a team member induct your employees to your chosen software.
4. Communication is the Key
With everyone in your organisation working from different locations and at potential different time schedules, the best way to maintain any form of control is through communication. Communication is the key to ensuring that all your employees are on the same page and that there's no duplication of work due to miscommunications.
Here is where software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Slack can really shine to keep your teams continuously talking and mapping out their daily tasks. More than just ensuring checks for tasks completed, communication aids to facilitate your company culture.
The importance of keeping your company culture alive through communication will go a long way in making sure that everyone is fully invested in their tasks and in being a productive member of the business as a whole.
It's equally important to maintain regular scheduled communication with your teams, be it through daily "standup" meetings, or weekly SCRUMs where your employees can catch you up on their progress, and your teams can assess progression of business operations.
So once a business is remote ready, what do employees need to do to set up a home office space?
How to set up your Home Office space
As an employee, there will be certain responsibilities on your part to fulfil with your employer if your organisation's business model adjusts to working remotely. The first few responsibilities is getting your home ready as a remote working environment. To create a functional workspace at home, you'll need to ...
- Ensure a stable internet connection at home.
- Set up a professional working environment - desks, chairs, lamps and webcams.
- Make sure to adhere to your businesses' predetermined remote work policy.
- Carve out a section of your home with the least potential for distraction or noise.
- Decorate your area with picture frames, plants, wallpaper, or whatever you may need to make you feel comfortable in your space.
Getting more granular with your required tech tools, here's some hardware you'll need (or your business will have to supply you with) to reach your daily working goals ...
- A laptop or computer with a webcam.
- An ergonomic mouse.
- Noise-cancelling headphones (to make sure you're protected from distractions).
- Printers / Scanners - if required.
- Work phones - if required.
When considering great software tools to reach your goals remotely, here's a great guide for both employees and business owners to investigate ...
a. Tools for Project Management
b. Login Access / Data Protection Tools
c. Time Tracking / Scheduling Tools
d. Communication Tools
At OfficeBox, we've been able to set up our employee's home offices with our very own product supply. Peruse our storefront to find exactly what you need to help your employees set up their home offices. Then propel your business beyond your competitors during this economically trying time.