In an effort to contain the Coronavirus, businesses are increasingly ordering employees to work from home. For many workers this transition can be challenging – only a third of employees in the United States work remotely – which can make communication difficult and slow down productivity. So how can businesses support their employees as they work from home, especially during a time of crisis like this? By building a culture of trust and clarity, where each employee feels comfortable with their role and has the support needed to complete their objectives. Here are five tips.


1. Opt for easy-to-use tools for communication and teamwork

When it comes to working from home, technology plays a key role in daily necessities like meetings or sharing documents. If you’re introducing new tools to employees make sure they are easy to set up and intuitive to use. In a remote work environment, employees can’t simply turn to IT for immediate help, so it’s important to pick the tools that make employees feel comfortable and help them with their productivity, rather than confuse them.


2. Have a central secure source for information

Working from home can lead to communication breakdowns without consistent communication from a regular source. It’s important not to rely on too many tools for sharing information– that can cause unnecessary stress as employees rush to check each tool for key information. Also, be careful which tools you choose to use—when you’re sharing sensitive information it’s all too easy for that information to be compromised thanks to insecure tools. Stick to keeping information centralized and sharing it over a single, secure source.


3. Clarify goals and roles through regular communication

Working from home can easily lead to confusion which is why it’s important to make sure everyone understands their team objectives, their individual roles and each team member’s role on the team. This means making sure that managers and other team members are easy to connect with if there are any questions or concerns. During a time of crisis, especially, some team members may need to take time off so it’s important to have a plan in place that specifies each person’s role during these situations and minimizes the impact. Having a culture of regular, private and secure communication in place eases that challenge.


4. Keep it personal

Working from home can be difficult for employees who are used to the personal hub and bub of working at an office. While people might need to work from home for safety reasons, it’s important to find ways to encourage comradery even as people work from home. Encourage staff to use communication tools as a virtual ‘water cooler’.


5. Learn from the experience

The decision by companies to ask their employees to work from home in wake of the Coronavirus may actually signal a shift in the workplace to more and more employees working from home. It’s a good idea to treat this experience as a learning experience. In what ways were you able to securely share sensitive information and keep employees engaged? Where were you limited? This way you can prepare yourself for any shifts in the workforce and future situations where employees might be working from home.

Choosing the right tools plays a key role in supporting your employees as they transition to working from home during a time of crisis. Vaporstream makes it easy to share sensitive information securely with individuals or as part of a team. It’s simple for teams to update each other on projects and easy to automate information sharing—so that if one person is unavailable to handle a project, the conversation can be escalated. Learn how we make working from home easy here.