Working from home – tips on how to handle it

Sarah Kauter, managing director of marketing agency VerriBerri gives her tips based on how she has led her team in response to the pandemic 

  • All the team have downloaded ‘Zoom’ so at 9 a.m. each morning we can have a department conference call and have a quick daily update on how the workload is to be distributed. With technology being so powerful, there is no reason remote working needs to lose effectiveness.
  • We already run a time/client monitoring device called ‘Clockify’ so we will be able to monitor how our clients’ hours are being spent to ensure best practice is upheld. This is a free or inexpensive app, depending on how much flexibility you need.  
  • It’s important that each department still runs as normal, which includes HR. I will be running my payroll and HR remotely, using a site called Spettro, which is extremely low cost and allows employees to have access to any HR information they may need. 
  • I have encouraged the team to take their computers and any other devices they need from the office so that they do not need to use personal tech for company use.  
  • The team are going to ensure that they take breaks at the normal times, to encourage routine. I have also asked them, where possible, to set up their home office away from areas they relax, so that they feel like they aren’t being surrounded by work.  
  • We have also asked all the team to make sure they get dressed and don’t work in pyjamas, so that they feel in ‘work mode’. 
  • A central database has been set up that we can all access any information we require.  
  • All phonelines are being diverted to mobiles for the interim period.  
  • To keep up morale and show a united front, the  team will be chronicling the working from home journey on their Instagram story each day, @verriberridigital.  Former Waitrose managing director and Trade Minister Lord Mark Price is the founder of Engaging Business – a platform that helps people get happier at work. Making working from home a success revolves around trust, empowerment, development and information. 
  • Trust – many employers have shied away from giving employees the freedom and flexibility to work from home because they fear that they simply won’t get the job done.  Research again and again shows that many employees are more productive working from home.  It is vital however that employers show they trust their employees working from home.  Show this trust through rewarding them by giving them this freedom and allowing them to coordinate their own working day. 
  • Empowerment – the aim of any business is surely to make employees feel empowered.  There may be stumbling blocks when having an entire team suddenly working from home.  Listen to your employees and their ideas – they will bring solutions to these stumbling blocks and it will make them feel empowered in their new working environment. 
  • Development – could working from home bring new opportunities to develop your team?  Online courses and training can be incredibly helpful for employees and importantly it makes them feel a valued member of the team. 
  • Information – sharing information is the most important and difficult element of achieving an engaged workforce and with having your teamwork from home this could prove problematic.  It could be very easy to slide into a ‘closed-door approach’ but putting in place daily meetings via conference calling will make the team feel that they are across any new information.  Giving employees information means they will understand the business and strategy, making a stronger organisation.

    by Sarah Kauter, Managing Director, VerriBerri
    This article was originally cited in London Business Matters.

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