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How To Embrace Remote Work To Win In The Post-COVID “New Normal”

With global lockdowns ending and a changing business environment ahead of us, there should be only one question on our minds. 

“What can we do to WIN in this new normal?” 🏆

If that’s the question on your mind, this post is for you. You‘ve realised there’s no time for sitting around. You know that what’s needed is action. 

But where and how do you start? 

“Contactless work” is the latest buzzword. So how do we go ‘contactless?’ How do we succeed post-COVID without sacrificing accountability, communication, and productivity? 

Let’s explore.

Can We Stop Physical Contact In The Workplace? 

Short answer: no. But by tweaking our systems and processes, we can undoubtedly limit unhealthy contact. 

Plenty of workplaces rely on shared tools. Sure, we can supply every employee with their own set of equipment, but when we get to large gear such as photocopiers and laser cutters – well, the idea quickly becomes infeasible. 

That’s why, instead of focusing on eliminating contact, we should concentrate on hygienic contact. A simple task can be added at the end of each job card, e.g. sanitise the tools.

But that’s only the first of many challenges businesses face today. 

The Paperless New World

There’s been plenty of focus of late on the idea of a paperless office. We’ve done two posts on it already – on going paperless, and the paperless cleaning checklist

So we won’t hammer on about the subject again. I do want to reiterate one thing, however…

The fact that paper can harbour the virus for up to 5 days. How many hands does a document pass through in that time in your office?

It’s worth taking a look at our posts on the subject if you’d like to take a closer look at going paperless. 

Even if you don’t care all that much about COVID-19 transmission, going paperless is as good for the environment as it is for business efficiency.

Moving on.

Is Having An Office Still A Good Idea? 

Apart from being the biggest paper user, the office is a prime location for disease transmission. All those people coming in and out, using the coffee machine, using the same bathrooms, breathing the same air through air conditioners… 

A central office hub is, suddenly, a terrible idea. But we can’t all just move to remote models.

So here are some steps we can take to limit our susceptibility to disease transmission in the workplace.

Limit Traffic As Much As Possible

The biggest reason we see workers passing by the office is for paperwork. Another is for meetings.

This can vary, but the principles stay the same.

Our first instinct would be to have sanitising stations at all the entrances and exits. But with an infected person inside the building, one poorly covered cough is all it takes to render those stations useless. 

The solution for conducting ‘people-less’ meetings is simple. Opt for conference calling. Skype and Zoom are great platforms with which to hold meetings. 

The paperwork problem is a little more complicated, though. We’ll have to bring in a paperless system without, of course, losing accountability or letting information fall through the cracks. 

This isn’t something we can do overnight. It’s a slow process – but it can be done, as one of our clients recently found out first-hand: 

“Appenate allowed us to be 100% paperless, and our dispatchers were able to work from home using the task option on Appenate.” – Junetta Sparks

A great place to get started is our blog post on the paperless cleaning checklist. You can apply that same process to any paperwork you currently have around the office.

How To Embrace Remote Work

“Those who can work from home should.” 

That sentiment was expressed by multiple governments around the world lately (and for good reason).

Right now, it feels like this is a scramble for short-term gains. However, if we embrace some form of remote culture now, it could lead to significant long term wins.

For example, limiting staff in the office will cut down on costs. You might even find yourself able to get a smaller building and save money on rent and other overheads. 

As a successful remote-work-based business, we might be able to help with a few tips.

Communication

Firstly, you’ll need to keep in touch with your teams. Thankfully, there are countless options all over the place. Basecamp is what we use, and it works well. 

You can also use a combination of apps. Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom, Bitrix24, Monday, etc. – the options are endless. 

And while these platforms work great for communication and collaboration, they often don’t allow for good tasking and data capture. So our next area of focus is… 

Tasking & Data Capture

Here’s where we can make paperwork go digital. With most tasks, employees need to capture specific information. Ideally, this information must be easily accessible at a later date. 

And that’s where a system like Appenate comes in regarding remote work. 

You need a system that you can use to create and assign jobs, capture the information on these activities and then get the info back to a central hub. 

This not only limits the chance of disease spreading but also eliminates the need for paper-based data capture. All the data is already captured on a digital platform – ready to be pulled into handy reports. 

So you’re not only protecting your employees, but you’re streamlining processes too. Which leads to greater efficiency – and if there’s one thing we need for faster business recovery, it’s efficiency. 

Many of our clients have overhauled their processes already – take a look at our use cases if you’re curious. 

Here’s also where Appenate can help with the physical exchange of tools. For example, a standard field on every job card or task could be to sanitise the tools after use (as mentioned earlier) – that way, the chance of spreading disease is further limited. 

Let’s Embrace The New Normal

We may be facing a massive challenge right now. But it’s also a golden opportunity. Those who adapt to remote work quickly will go on to lead their respective industries for years to come. 

Those who hesitate will either die or go bust. 

Which is why we must break down resistance to change, and change now. Accept the new normal and move on. 

Don’t despair, take action and let’s not just survive – but thrive. 

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