5 rules for businesses operating remotely during COVID-19
5 rules for businesses operating remotely during COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has suddenly disrupted the way most companies work. We are already living in an incredible digital world, some companies already have remote employees and provide digital products and services. Unfortunately, many other companies have to catch up quickly. Some companies have not set up remote operations at all, but in recent weeks, countless companies have no choice but to adapt. For small businesses that have never run remotely before or are not used to running fully online, many adjustments are needed. Whether you are used to remote operation or this is new to you, consider these five rules for running your business remotely during COVID-19.
1. Build your toolbox
You may not need as many paper clips as before, but you still need access to some valuable office supplies. This time, they will be digital. There are many options for file sharing, hosting video conferences, and creating custom chat threads to help your team work efficiently. The best part is that some of these platforms can be used or provided for free during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Microsoft Team, Skyrocket, Google Hangouts, Skype, WeChat, and relaxation All of these provide currently free communication programs based on text or video chat.Although large companies may need to pay for any project management software they use, small businesses with tight teams can usually use things like Posture, teamwork, and Project.co free.
2. Master the correct digital etiquette
One 2019 Messenger survey It was found that 75% of respondents believe that when conducting business, people generally expect some kind of digital etiquette. In personal situations, emails and texts can use casual tone, but in a business environment, it may be easier to be accepted that your communication is always professional and respectful. If you don’t want to mess up any feathers from a distance, it is worth following the rules of etiquette.
Don’t let anyone hang. The convenience of digital communication can add unnecessary pressure to respond quickly, but you don’t have to respond immediately after receiving a message. If you know that it will take a while to fully reply to the message, sending a quick reminder to confirm that you received the message and replying to the sender will be very helpful. If you need to take a break from checking emails, texts, or instant messages, let your colleagues know that you will take some time to rest and will not respond for a period of time.
Don’t be a multi-messenger. Let your colleagues relax during this busy time. If you do not receive their reply immediately, try not to repeatedly message them. Ideally, you should send as few messages as possible to express your opinion. 37% Survey object It is considered impolite to over-respond to digital messages.
Reading room. In this case, you need to read the chat room. Before you suggest a video chat meeting or stay friendly through text, make sure you think carefully about who you communicate with. Although texting is suitable for contacting teammates, most customers may prefer to call. Use caution when using a large number of communication channels with message threads that all colleagues can view. Before adding a comment to a topic, double check that you are chatting with the person you think. The same is true for large groups of threads. Make sure that the person you really want to contact is in the group, and that your message is suitable for multiple people to see.
3. Face difficult negotiations head-on
In these challenging times, there is no shortage of difficult dialogues, and business owners and managers have no choice but to face them. One of the most professional and respected ways to conduct sensitive discussions (such as human resources or customer-related matters) is via phone or video chat when appropriate. Although remote work may not allow you to leave employees or tell long-term customers face-to-face that you want to cancel important orders, you can call them. Compared to receiving emails or instant messages, talking can make people feel more respected. It will also give you the opportunity to engage in interactive conversations and possibly reach friendly solutions.
4. Set reliable expectations
If you are doing business remotely for the first time, it is important to agree on clear expectations with your employees and customers. First, what goals or key performance indicators do you want your team to achieve when working from home? Is there a fixed time when they need to be online? Are there certain tasks that must be completed while other tasks can be suspended immediately? Do you need your employees to check with you once a day or a week? On the other hand, you also need to help meet employee expectations for work-life balance, job security, and salary. Have an open and honest conversation with your team and understand their current expectations of you as a business owner or manager.
Likewise, you should set some expectations for your customers or clients. If your customer support staff is answering more calls than usual, let your customers know that they may experience longer than usual waiting times. If their shipments will experience delays, please notify them when ordering or as soon as you realize any imminent challenges. Most people understand that they can’t expect business as usual now, and the best way to keep everyone calm is to communicate clearly.
Ideally, you always manage your team and run your business with compassion, but at these times, flexibility and thoughtfulness are more important. If you know that your employees now have children at home, you may need to consider their surroundings and provide them with scheduling options, and then ask them to video chat as soon as they receive the notification. If a colleague is taking care of a sick relative, you can also propose to extend their deadline. If the customer cannot pay the bill in full now, try to develop a payment plan. During this pandemic, everyone feels nervous and stressed, but if you take the time to lead with compassion, your business can run more smoothly.
Hopefully, these suggestions will make it easier for your employees, your customers, and yourself to transition to remote operations during COVID-19 preventive measures.
Disclaimer: Fundbox and its affiliates do not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This content is for reference only and is not intended to provide and should not be used as a basis for financial, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your financial, legal or accounting advisers before making any transactions.