With the great effort on everyone’s part to flatten the curve of a global pandemic, academic institutions had to switch their operations online. In this post, we provide some information to help keep your center staff focused, engaged, and prepared to tackle their new learning environment. The center staff will gain a new level of experience during this process and may enjoy this work style, as there has been a growing trend toward a more mobile workforce.
Of course, working remotely does not mean we will never speak to or see our staff again by any means. There are many ways to keep connected to your staff such as via chat services like Slack and Skype, project management software – to get a good idea of what progress your staff is making on assigned tasks and conferencing software like Zoom and WebEx for meetings. If an application that you are already using with your staff offers some of these options then it may be easier to implement due to the team’s familiarity with the existing software platform.
It is important to communicate to the staff the common purpose and goals while they are working remotely. Let them know that you are there for them if they are stuck or need help with making it through these adjustments. Remember empathy goes a long way to reducing the stressors of social distancing. Providing feedback directly to team members can help them adjust their habits and improve their work. Also using these platforms as a way to provide unstructured communications can have a positive effect on the quality of their work output.
Click here to learn how Accudemia’s chat and virtualization options can help.
Typically, folks working from home will want to use their equipment but if connecting from home to secure information on your network you will want to consider how they go about this. Providing the infrastructure for this work is a good starting point. Most institutions have laptops available that already have all the security protocols to issue quickly to staff.
Setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection on these devices will allow them to continue to access their network resources securely. Addressing these concerns in the software solutions you deploy is just as crucial as they also need to be secure while accessing them offsite.
Click here to learn about Accudemia’s security and safeguards.
For most managers and directors, one of the biggest concerns going forward with remote employees is that there will be a sudden dip in productivity and that they will not be able to maintain order or keep people responsible. This should not be a concern as long as you take a few steps to implement this in a levelheaded way and have trust in the people you have hired.
On the practical side, institutions actually will save money when their physical office space needs to hold fewer people. The institutions benefit intrinsically as well from those not having to commute and having this extra energy normally spent to focus on the tasks given to them. Additionally having the flexibility to work at any given time as long as they log their required hours allows for their home-life and work-life to have a greater balance.
Keeping your employees on task can be solved by using software that tracks virtual meetings, allows them to enter notes about each session, and that you as a center admin can view or pull reports from wherever you are and whenever you need to know how things are going.
Click here to learn about Accudemia’s main features and reporting options.
Keeping to a daily ritual can help with making sure that the things you were doing before working from home are accomplished. Now, this may be a different process from your office routines but establishing these new routines will help to keep them on task. For instance, you may have started your day addressing concerns of your staff which you can still do by checking your emails or recent chat communications. Then you may have checked in the lobby of the center to see how many students are waiting but now you can check your online calendar to see what meetings you have. All these tasks may be the same but how you go about them will change so you'll have to find what options work best in your new routines.
Check-in with weekly meetings so the team still feels connected to the office and does not lose focus on the team or institution’s goals. These meetings are also a good time to communicate how well people are doing to reassure fears about losses in revenues from the changes to the campus while class attendance is transitioning to a virtual environment.
The new fully online environment is a learning experience for all of us. While challenging, this could be an opportunity to broaden your team’s cohesiveness and find new avenues for productivity. Preparations and techniques mentioned above will help you get there. Keep sight that your staff is the key to your center’s success so make sure to equip them with the tools they need to succeed.