COVID-19 has facilitated a huge global remote working experiment the likes of which has never been seen in socioeconomic history. With little time to prepare, many businesses around the world have been forced to close their offices and continue operations from home due to the highly contagious and highly dangerous nature of the virus. This has created a large number of operational challenges for B2C companies, which managers have had to address as quickly as possible. It has caused HR issues, cybersecurity fears and forced companies to adopt brand new methods of communication. However, one of the most important things a business can do to weather the turbulence created by the coronavirus is ensure their staff are properly supported as they work from home.
There is a direct correlation between a business’ success and its staff’s productivity. Without a productive workforce, companies simply cannot service their customers efficiently. This is true now more than ever with the large majority of workers electing to or being required to work from home. Among some business owners, there were initial fears that productivity would grind to a halt as teams were asked to go remote—particularly for staff who are parents of small children or live with a large group of people. Nevertheless, researchers at Airtasker polled 1,004 full-time employees throughout the U.S. and found that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes but also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles.
However, there are many workers that are not able to be as productive as they could and this will have a huge impact on their employers’ ability to navigate the pandemic. A study by Utility Bidder found that one in ten people still do not have, cannot get or do not plan to have access to all the relevant technological equipment they need to work remotely. The research highlighted that some workers are continuing to do their tasks remotely without laptops, printers, scanners and various other technological devices they normally require in the office. It goes without saying that this reduces their capacity to supply the needs of a business’ customers.
It is essential that workers are properly supported through this adjustment by their employers. That extends to looking after their mental health, communicating information about their business’ stability. Most of all, however, managers need to speak with their teams and ensure they have all the equipment they need to work from home. If they do not, these need to be provided at the earliest opportunity so that they are able to continue operations as effectively as they would from their ordinary place of work. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure their staff are able to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability, and the fact that they are not presently in the office does not change matters.
Few businesses will have been prepared for such a seismic change in operations, but those able to reacted quickly to these unprecedented circumstances will be best placed to continue servicing customers and endure the challenges ahead. Many B2C companies have, in fact, managed to maintain stability during this crisis by adapting swiftly. Some technology, retail and healthcare businesses have even seen their turnovers increase despite the challenges facing their business. But it all starts with addressing your employees’ needs, because the best asset that a company has in their arsenal right now is a productive, motivated workforce.