The good news for supply chain businesses across the country is that the economy is opening up again as stay-at-home orders are lifted in many states. However, the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is still rising rapidly, so it's wise for companies to do all they can to make sure workers are safe, including giving them the flexibility to continue working from home until the pandemic has calmed down a bit.
Of course, that may be months away, and it means remote work is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, you should continue to refine your organizational approach to remote work with the following steps:
1) Give everyone access to the programs they need
If people have been using makeshift replacements for programs they use on company computers, or have simply been making do without, now is the time to make sure they get the real McCoy, according to River Logic. Paying for additional licenses on your existing account or otherwise getting these programs to people is vital to ensuring they can work efficiently.
2) Don't make people come back if they can work from home
Some companies are adopting the idea of "If some workers have to come back, everyone does," River Logic advised. This may seem fair - but it isn't necessarily safe. For workers whose duties require them to be in the building, that's one thing, but for those whose presence isn't essential to their or your efficiency, they should be allowed to keep working from home until it's safer to come in.
In times of uncertainty, make sure employees know exactly what their roles are, and what is and isn't required of them, according to Gartner. That means telling people what's going on with their own roles and the company as a whole more frequently than you might have if everyone was just in the same office every day. You don't want to create a situation where even one employee isn't sure what the plan is, or what's being asked of them.
4) Set clearer objectives
A great way to keep employees on the straight and narrow even as you go months without seeing them in person is to set more benchmarks for getting their work done, Gartner said. If they have a new set of clear goals over the course of every week or two, you can help ensure they're pulling their weight.
5) Keep the lines of communication wide open
Because you're more accustomed to working in person, your normal methods for communication may not hold up as well with remote work, according to In The IT Supply Chain. Finding new ways to stay in contact beyond the occasional Zoom meeting is critical for both managers and employees.
6) Stay on top of monitoring employees
Certainly, managers need to be more concerned about people getting their work done remotely, and set up systems to do so, In The IT Supply Chain added. Then, when something starts to slip, you can have a conversation about what's been going on. These are challenging times for everyone, and through such a conversation, you may find that the problem has a simple solution.