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Will COVID-19 Show More Businesses That Working Remotely Is Viable?

by Matt Weik

You don’t need to convince me that working remotely is extremely beneficial. With my businesses, I’m able to work anywhere in the world and get everything I need done without sitting in a designated office space. That being said, even before I started my own businesses, I worked in the supplement industry where for years I traveled across the nation and then spent my Friday’s at home in my “office” space. Later, my role changed with the company which made working remotely the only means to get the job done without needing to relocate to Ronkonkoma, NY – which I wasn’t about to do.

With COVID-19 forcing many businesses to shut down operations and close their doors, it didn’t necessarily mean that business needed to come to a halt. Those who planned, worked with their employees, and figured out a strategy to keep the business moving forward quickly found that working remotely was their only option. But what, in my opinion, they are going to find is that working remotely is a great way to keep employees happy, cut down on expenses, and still get work done on time. That being said, there needs to be some accountability and trust put on the shoulders of the employee to ensure he or she isn’t sleeping in until 10am, taking a two-hour lunch, scrolling through social media throughout the day, hitting a quick workout mid-afternoon, and checking out early.

How to Benefit from Working Remotely

There are a few things a business can do to help employees transition to working remotely either full-time, part-time, or only when necessary like with what many have experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what can be implemented to help keep everyone accountable when working remotely.

Keep Normal Work Hours

The best thing to do is to keep schedules the same. If you are to work 9-5, keep the same schedule while working remotely. While it may be tempting to go off-schedule since you aren’t in the office, it’s easier to get side-tracked and lose valuable work time during the day. Keep your 30-60 minute lunch (whatever you are allowed) and stay focused.

Designate an Office Space

If anyone is approved and allowed to be working remotely outside of the office, they MUST have a dedicated area of their home where they can work distraction-free. That means NOT your family room where you have a 70″ big-screen television and can feel the urge to turn it on for “some background noise” that turns into the employee watching a full episode of SportsCenter instead of getting actual work done.

An extra bedroom is a great place to set up shop or even the dining room if you don’t have any other place for you to put a laptop so you can sit down and get work done uninterrupted.

Share Calendars with Boss/Co-Workers

There is an urge for managers and bosses to micromanage their employees and staff – especially when they are working remotely, and they don’t have a visual on them throughout the day. A simple way to feel in touch with staff is to make calendars viewable and shareable to the manager and co-workers. This will show how many calls are scheduled and how your day is laid out.

It’s also a good idea to touch base with those who are working remotely throughout the day to see if they need anything if you are the manager or boss. If you fully trust your employees, set them loose to do what they do best and don’t bug them.

Managers may also want to have a weekly conference call (such as on a Friday) with those working remotely to see how their week went, what wins and losses they had, and how they can go into the following week full-steam ahead.

How Does the Business Benefit?

Allowing employees to work remotely throughout the year is a great way to boost morale and how the employee sees the employer. The employee gets to save some time and money by not driving to the office every day. They can work uninterrupted by not having other co-workers walking into their office all day long or stepping into their cubicle. There are many benefits to the employee that transfers over to a greater appreciation and loyalty for the employer.

If an employee doesn’t necessarily NEED to be in the office every day, an employer may be able to negotiate their salary and while the employee may be shaved some money off of their salary, the ability to work from home and not need to waste transit time to and from work and all the expenses that come along with it may be enticing.

Again, working remotely isn’t for everyone. Some employees are not a good fit for working remotely and will abuse the system. They could potentially ruin it for everyone if the business is losing money and loses trust in their employees. But for those who can work remotely, you may find you can get more done during the day because you aren’t interrupted or distracted by co-workers, conversations around you, people stopping by to chat, watercooler conversations, etc.

I absolutely see more businesses in 2020 looking into putting something in motion where they allow employees to work from home more often. In the end, it’s a win-win for all parties involved assuming it doesn’t get abused.

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