In times as disruptive as these, embracing change may feel scarier than ever. As a nation, we are weathering an unprecedented moment. First came the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the riots sparked by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These events may or may not be disconnected—but one common element worth underscoring is that both events teach us that things cannot return to normal. Events playing out on streets across the U.S. make this painfully clear.
With so much in flux, it is understandable that folks would yearn for a return to normalcy in simpler contexts, such as the workplace. After all, experiencing so much change all at once provokes discomfort on a deep level. Nonetheless, the adaptations required of recent months show that office life cannot uphold the status quo any more than life on the surrounding streets.
We’re not talking about reforms ensuring the equality and safety of all workers—though, surely, those are crucial. What we want to address today is what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us about the viability of remote work. Results are in and the data is convincing: companies who wish to stay competitive will need to embrace work-at-home initiatives.
Prepping Your Office for Whatever is Next
Pivoting toward a model that supports remote work is rife with advantages. Meetings facilitated online are more focused and productive; work, itself, is better managed and more balanced; employees gain autonomy and responsibility; productivity spikes as time is saved by cutting commutes; and, naturally, infrastructure costs plummet with the need for office space and parking reduced.
Cashing in on all this means restructuring. Luckily, you’ve already managed the hardest part: the inevitable, initial shake-up (thanks, COVID). All that’s left to do now is strategize around how best to put the pieces back together. Easier said than done, sure, but here’s a short list to get you started:
- Redefine office space. Employees who work from home most of the time don’t need a permanent desk, but will still need somewhere to go when they come in. As you rebuild, prioritize spaces fundamentally oriented toward communication and socialization.
- Reallocate resources. Think: computers, security protocols to that do not hinder communication, and software to facilitate interaction. All this will pay itself back in terms of easier-to-access employees happily willing to trade flexibility for work-at-home privileges.
- Retrain with infrastructure and ergonomics in mind. Many of those thrust unceremoniously into remote work were unable to set up for long-term well-being. Now’s the time to take corrective action such that the shift becomes sustainable. This means trainings that center on ergonomic home workspace design and healthy routine maintenance, among other factors.
Great, but how do I know employees are actually working?
Our answer: how did you know if they were working before? After all, seeing your team at work isn’t the same as seeing them working. Instead, it’s results that provide evidence of productivity. Redirect your focus to outcomes and you’ll breathe easier. In making this change, not only will you discover that your employees are trustworthy, you’ll see that flexibility motivates better outcomes—and not only for your bottom line but for retention and satisfaction rates, too.
However great this all sounds, instituting change is no easy task. Luckily, you’re not the first to pivot towards remote work. Sign up for our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program and allow our experience to serve as a guide to transformation guaranteed to succeed. Sure, we didn’t invent the wheel…but we’re pretty good at keeping it rolling!