The year started, for many of us, with dreams, goals and plans for growth. Our thoughts were of improving training programs, implementing better hiring practices, maximizing profits and company retreats. The “Good Old Days”, when we had lunch choices and conversations around the water cooler. The days when there were not shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper and bottled water. However, the first quarter of 2020 has meant dramatic change for our country, our economy and how businesses operate.
Employees who have been sent home to work due to the COVID-19 outbreak, face some unique challenges. Many households have two adults working from home and/or children. There are many moving pieces – is your internet fast enough? Are there enough laptops in the home? Does everyone have a quiet area to work without distractions?
I have worked remotely for several years and am now a Partner in a company with employees who telecommute. Our team is productive and our operations seamless. We have a VOIP phone system, extensive database with excellent software, video conferencing and instant messaging for inter-office communication.
As we are drawn to the news and stories of COVID-19 cases plus political debates, it’s hard to focus, but we must. We are tough, remember? Be self-disciplined, make a to-do list and stay on task. We can also set great examples for our children as they watch us persevere through tough times and maintain a strong work ethic.
So, what do employers do when they have to fill a position, but that new hire must work from home? How do you train them? What we have done at Real8, which has been successful, is to establish a remote training program. It doesn’t have to include an extensive training manual, but at least prepare an agenda of critical training topics. If you have a handbook or policy and procedural manual, start with having the new hire review that information.
We have relied heavily on Zoom. I have conducted many new hire trainings simply over video. Zoom also allows others to view your screen which is a great way to train on software. Remote desktop software allows you to take control of someone else’s screen or they take control of yours. This is another great way to train. You can show how to utilize software and also allow the new hire to input data, etc. while you guide and teach.
Last, but not least, keep in mind too that the best hire will be someone who will be able to “hit the ground running” (although it may be virtual ground initially). They should know your industry, have held a similar position in the past and only need to learn your policies, practices and assigned portfolio, etc.
Change is hard, especially unplanned, forced change in an uncertain environment. However, many people have successfully worked from home and been extremely productive. We must learn to adapt and be resilient. We must have focus and purpose and set goals. As we go through this difficult period of time, let’s continue to support one another, be tough, stay tough and stay safe.
*Note – If remote employees are struggling with slow internet, cellular internet is a great option. I highly recommend UnlimitedToGo: www.unlimitedtogo.com
–Lisa Pyle is a Partner at Real8 Group. She has been in the executive search industry, focusing on real estate for over 20 years.