Right now, with everything that is going on in the world, you could likely learn a few lessons from your contingent workforce. Many businesses have been moving to remote work due to guidelines and restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some businesses might not return to the office once these restrictions are lifted.
Many companies have likely seen their employees still be productive at home. For some, working from home actually allows them to be more efficient because there is less of a risk for coworkers to pop their heads in and distract them from their tasks. These companies will likely be expanding their remote work policies in the near future.
With this increase in remote work, it’s important to ensure all employees still feel well cared-for and part of the team. The best way to learn how to do this is by turning to your contractors, freelancers and the contingent workforce at large. They are experienced at remote work, so they can help you and your team make the transition easier and more productive.
Remote Working Lessons from the Contingent Workforce
1. Emphasize Communication
The key to building and strengthening any relationship is through communication, and this certainly applies to business, as well. Making sure your whole team is on the same page — no matter where they are in the world — can improve morale and ensure successful global IT deployments. Likewise, maintaining an open line of communication increases team engagement.
While emails and phone calls have their benefits, try to incorporate video conferencing into the meeting schedule. So much of communication comes from body language and eye contact, and while it’s not perfect on a screen, video calls allow the team to see each other face-to-face. In turn, videos help remote employees feel more connected to their colleagues.
If you’re looking to bring a little more fun into the virtual workplace, consider holding a virtual happy hour or other celebration to be able to chat and connect with one another as humans instead of just coworkers. If you have someone on your team who has a special event coming up, like the birth of a child or a wedding, consider holding a “virtual shower” for employees to check-in and support them.
2. Take Advantage of Technology
There are so many advanced apps, programs and software solutions that can keep your team not only in communication with one another but also up-to-date on project information, too. Choosing and implementing a cloud-based solution can be an excellent way to allow everyone to have access to needed materials and documents.
As IT field technicians will attest, mobile data collection is critical for remote teams so everyone is current on all project information. From accessing important documents and viewing schedule changes to being able to provide excellent customer service, technology keeps everyone working together and can ease the transition from working in the office to being remote.
3. Set (and Stick to) a Schedule
This one might feel a bit more personal, but it’s important for productivity. Working from home can feel very strange for people who are new to it. Whether you can’t break the habit of getting dressed in business attire every day or find yourself rushing to login on time, even though you don’t have to go anywhere, the transition can be difficult. Consider setting a structured schedule for yourself. Likewise, encourage your team to establish a schedule, too.
This schedule can include a morning routine, as it can help you set the tone for your whole day. You can also create a plan of what projects and tasks need to get done during your work day to make you feel productive and accomplished by the time you log off. Remember to communicate this schedule with your team to make sure your priorities align. Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of having an evening routine, or at the very least a work shut-down routine.
When working from home it can be easy to fall into the habit of checking your email in the evenings or working longer than you need. Instead, create a firm boundary and do something that shows you you’re done with work. Keep your computer in an office, or charge it in another room in the evening.
Transitioning to remote work can sometimes be a challenge, but mastering these three lessons can help you better connect and uplift your team, even from a distance. Contingent workers are accustomed to these challenges and benefits, and they are a wealth of knowledge, especially in this time.
We at Kinettix already have a strong contingent workforce that can support your business throughout every step of your global IT deployment, retail technology project, and more. Schedule a consultation to learn about our global field techs’ experience and expertise.