With COVID-19 impacting the world, many employers are now requiring their teams to work remotely*, probably for the very first time. Fortunately, HCSS is set up so that ~90% of our team can perform their roles remotely. However, being that we have a primarily in-office environment, and culture, we’ve had to make some shifts in our way of working and building connections with each other.
Here are three things we’ve learned in our journey so far to help you navigate these uncertain times.
One of the biggest shifts in working remotely is that you can no longer just “pop in” to someone’s office in person to chat. In a remote environment, your communication is primarily written or in audio format, with a few scheduled video calls. However, without the physical presence of another human being, nonverbal cues can be lost, and communication can be watered-down.
To mitigate this, we’ve leaned towards over-communicating with each other. This may mean adding a few more check-ins or virtual stand-ups to ensure we’re all aligned. As a practice of “Collaborative Way”, we listen generously with each other and repeat back what we’ve just heard (from our perspective) in order to clarify any misunderstandings.
Due to the flexible nature of our work, many of us tend to have a “home office” that may include a desk, chair, monitors, keyboard, mouse, earphones, and more. We are set up to remotely interact with our “office” laptops from home if needed, and we can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to virtually access files only hosted inside our network.
What gets overlooked in many “necessary” home office setups is the importance of having a good technical support team in place. Our IT team remains 100% accessible in case of need, and they are quick to respond to our problems in remote situations. The HCSS Support team follows this same protocol – to be available for you in your time of need, and to help you get where you need to be. Let us know if you need help – 800-444-3196.
When working remotely, stable internet access is imperative. Having a backup plan in case plan A fails is just as important to keep going during challenging situations. One issue that I encountered recently while working remotely was that a hiring manager’s phone was not working, but she had access to the internet. Being that HCSS has a Google-suite setup, I shifted the call to a Google Hangouts Meet so that the conversations could continue. Each Google event invitation automatically contains a link to join by internet, phone, or video chat. The real power of technology is being able to leverage a variety of different tools so that you can rise over challenges, and ensure business continuity.
Relationships and Support
The texts, calls, and video group chats that I’ve been a part of to check on how everyone is feeling has been heartwarming. With social distancing being encouraged and reinforced by the number of public places closing (schools, gyms, restaurants, etc.) as well as large-scale events being postponed or canceled, there is a chance you may feel a sense of helplessness. The most important thing leaders can do during this time is to be human. At HCSS, our leadership has encouraged everyone to take the time to take care of loved ones, and recognize there may be a dip in productivity in doing so. It’s moments like these that may seem small at first, but they will pay dividends in the long run.
“This too shall pass” has been the common phrase that’s been shared to keep up the positive spirits. As we build community and support each other during this time, we’ll take away lessons that we’ve learned in the battle with COVID-19 and rise stronger for the future.
Lead Talent Acquisition Advisor
Allan joined HCSS in 2016 as part of the Marketing team, and is now part of the HR team that’s dedicated to hiring and developing the best talent to serve customers. He enjoys building connections and sharing content to help others navigate the changing world of work. You can find him most active on LinkedIn among other social media channels.
*According to a report by Global Workplace Analytics in which data was analyzed from the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 4.7 million people in the US currently telecommute (3.4% of the total US workforce). For definition purposes, telecommuters are defined as non-self-employed individuals who are working remotely at least half (50%) of the time.