The flexible workplace: COVID-19 necessitates a new digital reality

Ashley Sava

April 8, 2020

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If your business was just flirting with remote processes and technologies in the past, the events of today have forced you to step far outside your comfort zone. Those with strong business continuity plans have likely still had to make revisions and implement additional strategies due to the explosiveness of the situation. Chances are, your operations are currently surviving due to some level of remote technologies. With all this in mind, it's time to acknowledge the importance of becoming a flexible workplace.

Time to step up to the plate as a flexible workplace

If you’re trying to keep your company’s lights on, now’s the time to show your true value as a leader. While drastic, immediate plans to keep your business efficient will need to be made right now, it’s also the right time to look ahead to some long-term changes that will benefit your organization long after this pandemic ends. Learning how to train, manage and motivate employees who have never worked outside the office can be a challenge, but there has never been a better time to find an abundance of tips, tricks and engagement incentives.

Pick your poison

If you don’t already have collaboration tools for a flexible workplace in place, it’s time to pick them, teach them and mandate them. Social team collaboration platforms such as Slack or Flowdock can help keep your teams in constant communication. Are you lacking a standard video conferencing tool? GoToMeeting, Zoom and Google Hangouts all offer free plans to give you that irreplaceable face-to-face time. In order to keep your projects and processes running smoothly in today’s remote environment, as well as in the future, software options such as, Asana and Pipefy help teams track the progress of projects and operations, while staying on top of bottlenecks, requests and workflow updates. Without the proper tools in place, it's natural for businesses to struggle to meet operational needs. With exceptional tools, however, you might start believing in magic.

Expect your work culture to change

Based on the success of technology use, you might start allowing some employees to work from home on a regular or semi-regular basis even after COVID-19 fears subside. Another thing that could happen is that your employees might insist that you continue letting them work remotely. If the quality and quantity of work accomplished is on par or even better than the previous output, it’s going to be hard to put together an effective argument as to why something that was working so effectively cannot continue. In this instance, consider what it is that you’re truly afraid of. If your concerns are related to trust or performance, maybe the problem isn’t the working environment, but your management style or the hiring process. If your concerns are based on the workplace culture suffering, know that there are plenty of ways to ensure your company can maintain its culture for home-based team members.

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Turning your workforce into a flexible workplace can be daunting, but doing it right means you can start hiring from a wider candidate pool (not restricted by geography) in the future. Adapting to modern times by allowing for things like Work From Home Fridays also makes your organization a more appealing place to work for. 

Here's to the future of work!

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