Baker Tilly takes care of its employees and wants them to be comfortable working in the office and at home. We conducted an anonymous survey and asked our colleagues how they work remotely, what helps them get started and what they need to do to improve performance. We are glad to share the experience. The survey was voluntary and was completed by about 60% of employees – enough to draw conclusions.

When you transfer employees to a remote job, you seem to understand all the problems that may arise and what everyone writes about: procrastination, distraction, communication difficulties and prioritization, and more.

Each person has their own vision of organizing work. When a company is small, a manager can talk to everyone individually, agree on an action plan and cheer up. But if there are 50, 100, 150 or more people in the company, it’s harder to do. First, it is necessary to determine the general mood and atmosphere.

For most employees, the experience of remote work is new

According to the survey, most Baker Tilly employees had never worked remotely or had only partial experience of such work. Therefore, it is likely that it will be difficult to organize your work in the beginning. You may have to face some problems that haven’t arised before.

You can run a series of webinars on time management, priorities management and self-control to help people set up for remote work. To talk about how to build remote work. We immediately did some steps by posting a blog article with tips.

Many respondents enjoy  working at home

This is good news. But there are those who do not like this format. Talk to each employee individually and find out what you can do to help.

The main plus of working remotely is saving time, taking the road to the office

This is the most common answer to the question: “What do you like about remote work?” Some are glad that they have more time to sleep, someone is spending extra hours on entertaining, hobbies or homework, or using that time for work when there is a necessity. 

Also among the pros our employees stated the following:

  • work in comfortable clothing and comfortable posture;
  • it is possible to independently determine the work schedule and work in the most productive hours;
  • does not distract office noise;
  • the ability to learn self-control;
  • the ability to recharge during the day by doing the physical exercises .

The company may also offer employees to spend free time not only on their own issues, but also on training and improvement of professional skills. You can list recommendations with a variety of online courses, helpful books and articles, or order paid corporate webinars.

The success of the workflow is in proper self-organization

Make a plan for the day, stick to your work schedule, get comfortable with your workplace – great rules to make your workflow effective. If you are a team leader, schedule small online meetings via Skype or Zoom to discuss results and new tasks. Talk to your colleagues a little more to find out how they are and how they feel, or even just to reduce their  feeling of loneliness.

The most difficult part is effective communication and lack of live communication with colleagues

Of course, it is harder to interact at a distance than when everyone is in the office, where you can simply turn around and ask your colleagues what you need. But for some small questions, the process of agreeing has become even easier – just call or write to the messenger and quickly get a requested response.

Other disadvantages are in difficulty to set up the workflow: children, parents, husbands and wives who are in need of attention and, thus, distract; uncomfortable workplace, no borders between work and home. It is difficult for someone to control themselves and not be distracted by the fun, rest and searches in the refrigerator. Some employees have poor internet connection, so they may have difficulty accessing work programs. Lack of physical access to documents also affects performance, but not critically.

The company should look for opportunities to help employees overcome obstacles to effective remote work. Of course, we will not solve everything, but there is something that can be improved. People who feel isolated can connect to a collective video or audio connection and work – this will create a sense of presence. It is also mandatory to hold brief general meetings with managers: every morning or every few days. It’s a good idea to create a team chat for a department or chat where people can discuss their work issues, as well as chat for beyond the work issues. During the working day the supervisor has to be constantly available.

As for relatives, you just need to talk to them and explain that even though you are now at home you are still working and all non-related issues should be postponed until work is finished or until breaks between work processes.

Increasing the number of reports does not guarantee effective work

There is no need to overload staff with a lot of additional reports. The more reports, the less time it takes to complete the current tasks.

In addition, it may undermine their motivation because they will feel that they are not trusted.

Instead of coming up with a new report format, you should conduct a general online meeting and explain to employees that you should now become a super team and support each other. In order to survive these difficult times so that no one loses their jobs, clients stay with you and the company continues to work and develop, everyone must take responsibility for their work.

But do not misuse online meetings. Each should have a specific purpose, plan, time limit, and a clear number of participants who really need to be present.

However, if you still need to increase the number of reports for objective reasons, please explain to your colleagues why. For example, to retain a distrustful client or better distribute workforces. Then people won’t mind filling in an extra spreadsheet. 

You and your colleagues are one team

It is worth remembering that in times of crisis, a company’s CEO has a unique opportunity to see which company he or she has built, how loyal the employees are to the company, how well managers are able to form teams and manage them, how well people are selected for different positions. This is valuable analytics that cannot be obtained in the ordinary routine – it is worth benefiting from.

But the important thing is to remember that you and your colleagues are one team, with common values, goals, a desire to develop and build a happy, successful future.