The main thing to do is not to panic or cause a panic.
The Coronavirus outbreak is having a major impact on businesses and by all accounts, is set to be a major challenge for enterprise throughout the rest of the financial year. At present, there is no advice to ban large groupings or change working patterns however employees with even slight symptoms or a consistent cough should contact 111 for advice and discuss with their manager.
As a result of this it would be beneficial to companies to prepare the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees working from home. Many companies have already taken steps and instructed employees to work remotely where possible.
Avoid Staff Isolation
To avoid isolation and make sure you are considering the practicalities of remote working we recommend you consider your home working policy, how you will communicate with staff, how you maintain the sense of team and how employees can continue to maintain contact with their colleagues.
Some ideas are:
- Daily team huddle: start each morning with a catch-up with your team, either by a conference call or video. Ensure the meetings have a set start and finish time, allow a different team member to host each time so everyone is involved.
- Embrace video calling: this can replicate the in-person conversations you would normally have in the office and keeps the connections within your team.
- Keep 121 and team meeting times: maintain a sense of structure and framework.
- Stay focused: review your goals and KPIs as you usually would. It’s important to keep focus on day to day activities. Don’t forget about professional development topics and company values too. Encourage people to share any “need to know” or challenges so others can help where possible.
- Virtual drop-in hours: you can set up a virtual office through video conferencing platforms which will allow people to drop in and out and have live conversations with you. If video conferencing isn’t available, then ensure employees are aware of other methods of communication.
- Schedule team time: remote workers need time to bond with their colleagues. To replace the chat, they would have in the office you can host a standing time each day or week for staff to blow off steam. Encourage them to text and chat about what’s happening throughout the day on a team feed and celebrate wins.
- Dress the part: remind staff it is business as usual and that they should be ready to jump on any last-minute video calls.
- Share Calendars: remind staff to keep managers/team up to date with their availability, even if it’s to step away to grab lunch.
- Have a professional, clear working space: to be productive it’s best to have a clear, dedicated are to work. Take data protection and GDPR into and ensure data is stored and destroyed as per policy. Respect family needs and be mindful not to allow work to encroach on family time.
- End of day ritual: The commute home offers a transition from a work to a home mindset. If already home, it’s helpful to have a specific activity to signal the end of the workday. This could be to go for a walk with the dog, play with the kids, or cook a meal.
- Keep a work life balance: staff still need to take a break from their screens to recharge. When working remotely it can be easy to plough on, help staff to set boundaries between work and home.
- Look after energy levels: it is a scientific fact that stress and tiredness suppress immune systems and make us more vulnerable to colds and viruses. So, in addition to physical common-sense strategies such as exercising, sleep and eating a balanced diet encourage your staff to remain calm and stay connected
Other Resources to check daily
It is a difficult situation which we are in. Following government guidelines will be beneficial as it changes daily.
The Government is providing updates on their website, view here.
The World Health Organisation has also published advice, view here.
Contact us if you require further information.