Tue, 17. March 2020
Summary: Social distancing to contain the SARS-NCOV-2 pandemic requires significantly more home-office work than previously. We would like to make our contribution and make it easier for companies to adapt. Therefore, in the following you will find important tips on how to introduce Remote Work. In addition, we are now offering our Loop Now software free of charge for three months to companies converting to home office.
Corona and why we should act now.
In the last few days, the situation in Europe and especially in Germany has become increasingly difficult. The exponential growth curve of infections with the novel corona virus and associated COVID-19 diseases requires quick and decisive reactions.
One of the most effective ways of interrupting chains of infection is, in addition to hygiene measures such as regular hand washing, so-called "social distancing", in which the possibility of infection is reduced by minimizing personal exchanges. In addition to the cancellation of major events such as concerts, this naturally also includes the minimization of personal contacts at the workplace. A good summary of the reasons for the measures can be found here.
What steps employers should take
In addition to public facilities such as schools and universities and event spaces such as trade fairs or clubs, the workplace is a predominant place of exchange with others - and thus also a space that supports infection chains.
In order to eliminate these possibilities of infection, employers are required to minimize office presence and switch to work from the home office.
We at Loopline have also completely dispensed with office presence since 12.03. and switched to remote work. We are aware that as a digital company we are naturally predestined for such a procedure and our flexible workstations have already given us enough opportunity for "test runs" in the past. In the following we would like to share some of our experiences and enable as many companies as possible to take similar steps.
This should be considered when switching to home office work
Especially companies that do not yet have a part of their staff working predominantly from the home office should consider the following tips for efficient remote working:
1) Working place:
In addition to job-specific requirements, the following things are particularly important here:
- Good Internet connection: Companies with many employees in areas with a weak Internet infrastructure may be able to provide mobile hot spots.
- Access to important data: Make sure employees have access to important data. If they were previously only accessible via the office network, set up VPN access as soon as possible.
- Monitor: Enough screen makes a big difference to productivity in many activities. Companies should be flexible here and allow employees to borrow the monitor from the company temporarily for their home office, for example.
The company has less influence on other factors. These include ergonomics, lighting conditions, quiet, etc. The order of the day is also here: Flexibility and confidence that the employees create conditions that are useful for them.
2) Maintain coordination efficiency:
Even from a distance, verbal votes are one of the most efficient ways of communication. The best and most efficient way to virtualise meetings is through video telephony platforms. Proven providers here include Zoom, Join.me and Webex. If your company lives in the Microsoft or Google world, there are also directly usable onboard resources with Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts. Advantage: With video telephony even non-verbal signals are not lost in communication.
3) Profit control through agile targets:
Remote Work requires a rethinking of employee control. Physical presence as a "diligence indicator" is no longer necessary - ideally, managers control their employees primarily through results. This works best with clear and agile goals. These can be set individually or at team level. Ideally, tracking is carried out at least on a weekly basis. It is important that the goals remain agile, i.e. that they can also flexibly reflect changing realities in the business process. The advantage for employees is that priorities are always clearly communicated.
The OKR method is suitable for this purpose. It can be used quickly and flexibly, and allows a quick implementation of results-based management without much training. Digital tools like Loop Now.
4) Keep employees involved through regular feedback:
Highly committed and motivated employees are more productive and creative, qualities on which companies depend especially in difficult times. At the same time, however, it is becoming more difficult for managers to rely on their gut feeling for employee sentiment from a distance. Continuous small, digital "pulse checks" on employee satisfaction help here to react quickly to changes and to keep the best employees engaged even in the home office. Employees are also given a platform to make concrete suggestions for improvement.
5) Keep teams efficient:
Even in teams, distributed working requires tools that make possible obstacles to collaboration transparent. Regular surveys on topics such as:
- Do we currently have blockers?
- Is the communication in the team correct?
- Are we on schedule?
- Is the work-life balance right?
Ensure that the cooperation runs smoothly even without the daily personal contact. Ideally, results are regularly and transparently discussed in the team.
6) Maintain loyalty and motivation:
Team traditions such as joint drinks on Fridays, all-hands meetings or Q&A appointments with the management should definitely be continued - only virtually. This way you can preserve the positive elements of the corporate culture. There is no need for a joint lunch. Such appointments are then often the only "glue" that holds the workforce together on a human level.
How we can help here
With our cloud software "Loop Now", we provide companies with a tool that is ready to use in minutes and provides important support for some of the above-mentioned points. In a software we support with:
- OKR Management for team and individual objectives
- Regular pulse checks on employee satisfaction
- Team feedback for efficiency control for teams
We place particular emphasis on an implementation that is both mobile available and particularly easy to use. This enables us to enable companies and teams to quickly master some of the most important challenges of remote work.
Our decision: Loop Now free for all companies switching to Remote Work
The restrictions required to contain COVID-19 in the coming weeks will pose major challenges for the German economy. We at Loopline have decided that we would like to make our contribution to support companies in this. To facilitate the upheavals of the coming months, we make Loop Now available free of charge for the next three months to all companies switching to home office work — no strings attached. We hope that the situation will have eased by summer. Our offer is therefore initially limited until 15 June 2020. But don't worry - no credit card is required for registration and companies that do not need it after that date can simply let the free account expire on June 15.
If we can help you with the transition, simply book a appointment here for a short video call in which we guide you through the most important functions and create your account for you.
For our existing customers, we do not charge for additional employees booked during this period.
We are looking forward to making a small contribution so that we all emerge strengthened from the next months!
Author: Christian Kaller