Whether it is coming from the government, the WHO, or other sources, the guidance on lockdowns and the restrictions attached to these are changing on what feels like a daily basis. Companies are faced with a constant challenge of adapting working situations and office environments to meet these changing requirements. We saw the reality of this a few months ago, when having spent not-insignificant amounts of making office spaces safe and compliant with regulation, businesses were faced with a range of tougher restrictions, from moving to higher tiers, to heading into a full lockdown.
On top of this, employers must take into account the wants, needs, and wellbeing of their employees. Flexible working has been brought to the forefront of our awareness, and balancing the requirements for remote work with the need to conduct face-to-face meetings, maintaining team morale and keeping teams connected is an ongoing challenge.
So, how do you consider all these factors and build a usable plan even with the uncertainty of our current reality?
START WITH THE BASICS
It is a received piece of wisdom that you cannot fully see how to move forward without understanding where you are now. Take the time to map out how things are working now, and the systems and processes you are using internally when your team is working almost fully remotely. This will offer a big picture view of what is working, and areas for further scrutiny: perhaps there are certain tasks that take up a huge amount of your team’s time, or aspects of your work that have been effectively ‘postponed’ until you can pick them back up face to face.
TAKE A STAGED APPROACH
Planning does not have to mean picking one idea and running with it. A great way to approach the uncertainty, is to create a staged strategy, that covers the implications of varying restrictions. This could be starting with the business’ strategy for a fully remote workforce, and then building upon this with considerations and changes should a small, distanced team be allowed back into the office, and then even when we are all allowed to get ‘back to normal’ again.
ACCEPTING ‘GOOD ENOUGH’
You may find that in order to fully streamline your remote processes you will need a significant investment of funds and time, which you simply don’t have. But if you are not planning to maintain a fully remote team for the long term, then this is likely not a good use of time or money. Instead, aim for ‘good enough’, making sure your systems re fit for purpose and whilst they are maybe not perfect, they can do the job for now.
SPLIT YOUR FOCUS
Planning for the future doesn’t mean you should neglect business as usual. But, sometimes balancing the needs of business as usual and planning for the future can feel like you’re being pulled in two different directions, often letting one aspect suffer from a lack of attention. Setting one team to focus on planning for the future and a second team to focus on the here-and-now can help ensure both priorities get attention and allow each team to concentrate on the best planning approach for each.
Communication is always a vital tool, and never more so than when we are working remotely. Don’t feel you have to wait until you ‘have something to say’ to keep in touch with your teams: even a simple email to say you are working to understand the latest guidelines will be appreciated. Your employees are also existing in our current state of flux, and they will understand you are also working with limited information.
We are passionate about supporting businesses through change. At times like this, we know change is reactive, and budgets are tight, and our team is always ready to help. We have developed our Accelerated Change Review to help businesses in this current changeable climate, priced to deliver maximum value at a one-off low cost.