Permanent Consultant, Bertie Siggers, interviews two experienced virtual assistants about their tips, in order to help personal assistants with the transition to working remotely. They cover: Their favourite technology Staying motivated and productive while working from home Their remote workspace Structuring their day Learning opportunities Creating boundaries Improving communication with their principals Their tips for
With the COVID-19 outbreak causing the majority of staff to work from home, many of our clients have implemented some fantastic processes to support their employees in this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime situation. If you’re still considering the ways in which you can motivate, support and care for staff, these innovative and heart-warming measures may prove helpful!
Setting up Home Offices
Many firms are prioritising ergonomics and have couriered workstation replacements to staff, such as monitors, desk mounts, back support and office furniture. Purchased or hired, these are designed to minimise any physical strain where employees are now working in improvised home office set-ups.
Wi-Fi boosters are also being posted to staff homes in the event they have weaker signal or where multiple household members are plugged in and straining the Wi-Fi usage at home.
Management teams must lead from the top, keeping communication as frequent and informative as possible. From daily summaries of Boris Johnson’s briefings through to sharing wins, ideas and new systems, CEOs and senior management should be circulating (at minimum) twice-daily updates that cover how employees will be impacted by the PM’s advice and how they are supporting their employees. Messages should be as positive and supportive as possible.
Video calls are better than phone calls or phone conferences. Daily video calls with teams or line managers help to boost morale, even when the odd cat or dog gets in shot! Mixing up interactions with different team members virtually contributes to employees (particularly those who live alone) feel less isolated.
Managers should incorporate well-being check-ins with staff. For those suffering with anxiety, this is likely to be an exceptionally difficult time. Prioritise employee well-being and ensure they know it’s ok to not be ok. Arranging staff socials virtually, whether it be video drinks, virtual gym sessions or games like ‘heads up’, interactions like this can go a long way to helping staff feel less lonely. Book clubs are also being established to allow colleagues to chat outside of work hours (and about something else other than the news).
Slack has been a popular tool for companies who don’t already have an IM service. This can be set up to have private groups for teams, and public groups for chit-chat and important announcements. Slack is very useful for inbox management.
Many employers have offered alternative benefits to minimise the impact on their employees’ lives while being out of the office.
One client has offered staff free pairs of trainers to encourage exercise
Additional flexible working is something that firms may need to offer, particularly where families are struggling with childcare. This doesn’t necessarily mean less hours on the job – it just allows employees to have the flexibility to log on while children are asleep, for example, and log off when they need to be entertained.
Where employers have traditionally offered free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, some businesses are offering employees a food allowance to be added to their next pay packet.
Finally, health and wellbeing are so important and must be prioritised on management and HR agendas. If there are opportunities to be creative, employees will value and appreciate this. One of our clients has offered their staff free pairs of trainers to encourage them to get out and exercise! If you can’t quite manage that, free subscriptions to apps can also go a long way to supporting a healthy, balanced lifestyle during self-isolation. Clients have paid for subscriptions to apps focused on meditation, fitness and nutrition to support people’s mental and physical health.
We would love to hear what you are doing for your workforce so we can share any tips with other companies and continue to keep all of us motivated, engaged and supported! Please feel free to email me directly at [email protected] and check out our guidance on the future of work after COVID-19.