Even before the pandemic the idea of working from home held widespread appeal, and let’s face it – between collaboration software and today’s hectic pace of life, working from home is often the ideal solution to balance the needs of a career, family, and self-care. During the pandemic there was an unprecedented shift to the work from home (WFH) model, proving that in many cases, it can be done. As an employer, here are some tips to help your team navigate the transition.
Note that we are referring to WFH where it is safe and feasible to do so, not industries where in-person interaction or on-site work is mandatory due to the nature of the job.
1. Make it an option
While many people are eager to join the WFH movement, many others like the structure of office life, or prefer to leave the home daily for work. Some find it too difficult to work from home or lack the resources to do so. Go with safety first and foremost. If you are in an area experiencing high cases or your office lacks the ability to social distance, a WFH model is ideal. If you can safely operate, offer the option of WFH or a hybrid model of some days in the office and some days out. This ensures everyone’s needs are better addressed.
2. Don’t expect 9-5
Instead of expecting your WFH team to be available for calls and meetings from 9-5 or anytime you pick up the phone, understand that they are getting kids ready for school, possibly caring for ill family members, or navigating homeschool. Set goals for when you expect projects to be complete and allow for team members to work during the times that suit them best. For some, this is the wee hours of the morning. For others, it can in the evening when their partner comes home and takes over childcare. When setting meetings, issue plenty of advance warning so team members can adequately prepare.
3. Strongly encourage healthy behaviours
Encourage your team and be there for them during these stressful times. Organize FitBit or walking challenges. Open a group chat forum to share healthy recipe swaps. Encourage self-care. Point out the mental health supports available through the company group plan.
4. Rise to the challenge
It’s normal to want things to go back to the way they were before COVID-19 disrupted our daily lives, but with cases rising across Canada, the term “normal” is a moving target. This is a good time to take a look at how to innovate your procedures and your workplace. If a WFH model is working, you may be able to continue it post-pandemic and reduce overhead. If you suddenly switched to collaboration software, now is a good time to dig in and test a few models to see which one can best serve your company moving forward.
AF Accounting knows it’s not an easy time to lead a company right now. We are here for small businesses, sharing advice as well as accounting knowledge. Visit our blog and social media for small business advice, and for updates on the federal benefits program that impact you and your employees.