Organisations around the world find themselves in different phases of managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the challenges vary by location, industry and business maturity, identifying and implementing the right employee policies and smart approaches to remote work emerge as the most difficult — and the most important.
Employers in Asia have been tackling these issues for months. In the process, they have narrowed down critical success factors for remote work.
It is important that organisations in other parts of the world look to their peers in Asia. While companies in Asia have not yet come out on the other side of this COVID-19 crisis, they are further along than many in newly affected regions and have valuable insights to share.
Insights that Gartner has gleaned from employers in Asia show these five actions are critical to the success of remote work:
Provide direction, confidence and resilience
Employees rely on leaders at all levels of the business to take action and set the tone. In communications from senior business leaders to managers, prioritise employee health and business sustainability. Communicate regularly and candidly with employees. The briefing poll found that 56% of organisations have communicated an action plan to employees in case the situation worsens.
Contextualise coronavirus for the organisation
Make leaders a trusted source for accurate and up-to-date information on coronavirus and how it is impacting the organisation. Avoid sharing information from social media. Instead, leverage trusted resources such as the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control. Contextualise information and data as much as possible so that it specifically relates to your organisation.
Encourage intentional peer-to-peer interactions
Urge employees to maintain regular professional and personal interactions with their peers, even if those check-ins are virtual. The online poll showed that 40% of organisations have set up additional virtual check-ins for employees with managers and 32% have introduced new tools for virtual meetings.
Encourage employees to leverage communication platforms they already use, either at work or in their personal lives, to create new ways to work together.
Establish team guidelines
Remote work looks different for each employee depending on their needs and those of their family. With unprecedented school closures, many employees must take on a double role as they support their children and families throughout the workday. Organisations can meet employees’ needs by empowering teams to adapt to their conflicting time demands. For instance, teams can set core team times where all team members are available to collaborate.
Provide flexibility for remote work needs
When preparing for the eventual return of employees to the office, empower employees to make choices best suited for their needs and comfort levels. Where possible, allow employees to decide when to return. Enable essential employees whose work requires them to return to the office to choose the hours that work best for them.
- Make leaders a trusted source for information on coronavirus and how it is impacting the organisation.
- Urge employees to maintain regular professional interactions with peers, even if those check-ins are virtual.
- Remote work looks different for each employee depending on their needs and those of their family.
By Brian Kropp, Distinguished Vice President Analyst, Gartner.