As the coronavirus spreads across the United States, major companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are asking their employees to work remotely in an effort to prevent the rapid spreading of the disease. Additionally, we see companies restricting non-essential business travel to keep the virus from spreading.
For many Americans, this virus has brought on the change they have been demanding; remote work and flexible schedules. For quite a few organizations, remote work is a new concept that will bring on many challenges. Additionally, companies will face a few hurdles as they encounter unexpected changes in plans and schedules.
The coronavirus is putting remote work to a big test. While the main purpose of a remote work schedule, in this case, is intended to prevent the spread of the virus, it is also a test determining how well companies function when a team is not all together in a face-to-face setting.
Whether you have allowed your employees to work remotely, or you are just now getting on board with the remote trend, here are a few ways the coronavirus is impacting remote work:
Making it more necessary
The most frightening thing about the coronavirus is the unknown. The virus developed and spread so fast that medical professionals, researchers, and government officials have not yet had the time to determine the best preventive measures or what to expect as the final outcome. Because of this, it is best for workers to stay home.
What we do know, is that this virus is spreading quickly, which means that it is easy to come in contact with. The Center for Disease Control states that the virus is primarily spread through contact, which is a scary thought for those in a business setting. Think about it: How many things do you touch while you are in the office? Throughout the day you are shaking hands, opening doors, typing on the computer, grabbing papers, eating…the list goes on and on.
Although it is said that most people will experience mild symptoms, the concern is that people will spread it to others who might be at a higher risk for severe symptoms. This is why it is so important for companies to consider allowing remote work as the pandemic continues to spread.
Integrating new technology
As more and more companies work remotely as a safety precaution, tech companies are making it easier to work remotely by offering services that are more accessible to small businesses and organizations. Here are a few examples:
· Microsoft. Microsoft is offering a free trial of the premium plan for its Teams chat app. This way, users can record meetings and take advantage of the additional storage options. This extended premium trial will be available for six months.
· Google. Google will allow free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts and meets to all G and G suite for Education users. The free access is an effort to help businesses and educators work together regardless of their location. The free access allows for larger meetings (up to 250 participants per call), live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
· LogMeIn. LogMeIn is offering its customers free emergency remote work kits for health care providers, education institutions, municipalities and non-profit organizations. The free kids will include solutions for meetings and video conferencing, webinars and virtual events, IT support, management of remote employees, and remote access to devices in multiple locations.
· Cisco. Cisco has expanded the capabilities on their free Webex offer in all countries where it is available. The additional features include unlimited usage, supports up to 100 participants, and offers toll dial-in. Additionally, they are providing 90-day licenses to businesses who are not current Webex customers.
Rather than focusing on the hesitations you have with remote work, it’s time to focus on the positives! Remote work is a way to boost productivity. Your employees will have more time in their schedules because they won’t have to get ready to come into the office, and won’t have a commute time, putting more time back into their day.
Your team might also accomplish more because they are away from office distractions. Many times, employees get up and walk around to chit chat with their peers, whereas when they are home, they are most likely not surrounded by many people. There is more time for employees to get into a space they are comfortable in and focus on work.
Let’s face it, we could all use more sleep. Especially those employees who don’t regularly work remotely. In the little time they do have off, they are typically running around getting things done that they can’t do from their office. Your employees will have more time in their day to rest. Encourage your employees to get some rest while they work from home. Not only will they return to the office more refreshed, rested and ready to work, but it will also help keep their immune system strong, reducing their chances of catching the virus.
You might think all this time away from the office would be harmful to a team, but it is actually the opposite. With the right tools in place, your team can communicate just as well as they do in the office - if not better! Take advantage of all the tools available, like Google hangouts, Skype, and instant messaging tools.
Work2Live: Helping small businesses adjust to remote work
As a small business, this is your time to capitalize on remote work! Maybe you have been considering allowing your employees to work remotely occasionally, but haven’t put it to the test. Well, now is the time!
At Work2Live, we understand remote work is a new concept to many companies, which is why we are here to help you through the transformation!
Want to learn more about how you can make the most out of working remotely? Check out our latest blogs!