Businesses are slowly beginning to open their doors again, as many states are lifting the stay-at-home order. However, with the undeniably strange feeling in the air that comes with the lack of knowledge still surrounding the COVID-19 virus, many businesses are continuing to embrace a remote work environment. For companies not ready to fill office seats again, the option is still available for employees to work from the comfort of their home. 

“Although it may be difficult to make the change, it is vital to embrace a remote work environment during such dependent times,” says Neal Kwatra, founder and CEO of Metropolitan Public Strategies. 

To further support businesses who are still being forced or are leaning towards adapting to a remote work environment, here, we share vital steps any company can take to prepare for the technological shift more adequately.

Step #1: Create a transition manual 

As everyone starts to work from home, the first step a business owner should do is to create a manual to help employees with the transition. Encourage employees to voice how they can create a productive home office environment. People function and work differently, especially while working from home. Employees should provide feedback on subjects such as preferred communication styles, boundaries, personal time hours to be respected, and ideal working hours. 

Step #2: Establish clear expectations

Employees should establish their expectations while a business owner does the same. Business leaders should be accessible during critical business hours, and owners need to provide other helpful resources or steps to take if, for some reason, a manager is not answering. Organization heads need to voice expectations of what type, level, and length of work employees should be doing. 

Step #3: Distinguish communication avenues for clarity

A business owner should maximize security on company devices due to the heavier reliance on technology. There are various forms of communication, including email, text, and even business communication software tools such as Slack. Companies should distinguish what type of messages to send on what platforms. For example, communicate all daily work questions through Slack, and after office hours, urgent matters should be communicated through text. 

Step #4: Utilize technology collaboration tools

Multiple meeting tools are available for organizations to utilize, like FaceTime, Zoom, and other virtual face-to-face options. This digital form of a meeting can help group brainstorms, office meetings, or team project collaborations. It is crucial not to over-use these tools, however. It is easy to lose concentration of any audience if they know all virtual meetings are unnecessarily long. 

Step #5: Encourage a positive remote culture

Creating a remote culture based around acceptance, encouragement, and positivity are keys to building a successfully proactive work environment outside of the office. Business owners can reduce the feeling of increased isolation by making sure everyone can speak and be heard in meetings, as well as host fun virtual activities such as having a “show your home-work-space” party. Entertaining activities can help new employees feel included, too.

About Neal Kwatra

Since starting Metropolitan Public Strategies seven years ago, Neal Kwatra has been leading some of the most hotly contested political and advocacy campaigns in New York and across the nation. From helping run the NY Immigration Coalition’s campaign for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and campaigns in support of affordable housing, fossil fuel divestment and the national anti-Airbnb ShareBetter coalition, while also serving as an advisor to top city and state officials such as City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Kwatra sits at the intersection of politics, press and the most compelling public policy fights of our time. In recent years, Kwatra has been credited with running campaigns to elect Corey Johnson as City Council Speaker, flipping nationally targeted Congressional seats as part of the new Democratic Housing Majority, managing Ken Thompson’s historic victory as the first-ever African American to be elected Brooklyn DA, guiding the 2014 re-election of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and serving as Director of Political and Strategic Affairs at the New York Hotel Trades Council, where he helped turn HTC into one of the most potent political forces in the state. With past as prologue, Kwatra will be a major player in upcoming elections such as the 2021 mayoral election.