Written by Amelia Orwick

Within the matter of a few weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has erupted into a full-on public health emergency that has left organizations scrambling to prepare.

Enterprises and educational institutions around the globe are implementing work-from-home (and learn-from-home) policies to limit the spread and protect their constituents. Corporate giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook have asked their employees to stay home, and as of yesterday, at least 48 colleges had canceled in-person classes.

Undoubtedly, the decision to send your employees home is a difficult one. How do you communicate effectively from a distance, distribute work materials securely, and guarantee your team’s productivity?

If you want to remain on track to meet yearly objectives, business must resume in as normal a manner as possible. Here are five tips for empowering your remote workers and learners during this tumultuous time:

1. Agree on company goals. A drastic change to workplace routine is sure to cause a certain level of disruption. But you can minimize the damage by communicating your strategy with confidence and clarity. To start, identify your top priorities and a plan for attacking them. Only after you’ve ensured business continuity should you begin focusing on other projects.

2. Put the right tools in place. Luckily, modern technology makes it easy to connect and collaborate with your team, even if you’re not in the same physical location. Once you’ve determined your objectives, you’ll be better positioned to select the tools that will help you achieve them. Make sure your employees and learners are equipped with the essentials, like laptops and smart phones. Then, consider what systems you’ll use for things like word processing, file sharing and time management.

We suggest the following platforms:

  • Video conferencing: GoToMeeting is an online meeting and web conferencing tool that enables businesses to collaborate with customers and colleagues via the web. Zoom is a popular alternative.
  • Project management: At ViaTech, we rely on Asana to organize, track and manage our work. Other project management tools include Trello and Monday.
  • Real-time communication: Microsoft Teams enables workers to chat, meet, call and collaborate all in one place. If you're not a Microsoft customer, consider using Slack.
  • Content delivery & collaboration: Active Reader® is our platform for content delivery and collaboration. It is used to distribute enterprise content to large user bases on a global scale.

3. Provide a regular stream of updates, work and training. When your team works remotely, they miss out on the chatter and business-related conversation that occurs naturally throughout the day. To keep people from making assumptions or becoming complacent, you should provide regular updates on critical projects and outcomes. During this time of strife, it’s also imperative that you share emerging details on your response to the virus and recognize your team for its flexibility.

4. Encourage and reward interaction. Be candid with your team about the importance of interacting with their work materials and training content. In the end, monitoring online engagement is the only real way to determine their understanding and progress. To reinforce positive behavior, you may want to implement a reward system for asking questions, offering instruction and engaging in online discussion.

5. Monitor interaction and refine your offerings accordingly. The great thing about technology is the window it gives you into your work and training programs. Many platforms offer reporting and analytics tools that will give you an idea of what materials are resonating and who is fully engaged. Take full advantage of these tools and make adjustments to your materials and workflows as needed.

Although modernizing your work practices may not have been a top priority for 2020, it doesn’t hurt to test concepts like telecommuting, flexible scheduling and on-demand training.

After all, more and more organizations are offering remote working and learning opportunities in an effort to increase productivity and attract top talent.

By laying the framework for remote work now, you’ll be more prepared to make the transition to a 21st-century workplace in the future. Take this opportunity to test your abilities and empower your people along the way!

Please be advised that ViaTech is taking every precaution to ensure your health and well-being during this time. As the experts in modern content management, we offer a unique electronic delivery solution. Powered by ViaTech, Active Reader® enables secure electronic document delivery in mission-critical situations. We are now offering a 45-day free trial of the platform to businesses challenged by current circumstance. Call our hotline at (866) 661-9317 (US) or (469) 669-0228 (International) to get started within 24 hours.