The Remote Work Revolution Is Upon Us

By Ben Peterson  |  March 10, 2020

I’m lucky. I work for a company that understands a lot of good can be done from home while wearing athleisure or a full hazmat suit

You know who’s in trouble? Companies with restrictive (outdated?) policies around remote work. This is uncharted territory for organizations with an old-school mindset. 

As COVID-19 forces immediate action by companies big and small, remote work shifts from an occasional or once-a-week arrangement to a full-time solution. It’s not easy. 

Many colleges are grappling with the realities faced by students who may not have the resources (wifi, unlimited data plans, laptops, etc.) to stay in the game. What happens for parents of younger students when their elementary schools close and there’s no way to handle childcare and continue working? What about big companies that always relied on “butts in seats” and in-person collaboration?

In the not-so-distant past, everything would have come to a screeching halt. Today, we have loads of remote work strategies and tools like Zoom and Slack to help keep the wheels in motion. In some cases, these platforms can make workers feel like they’re never really unplugged from work, but this is a moment for such technology to shine (assuming they can handle the massive uptick in usage). 

One possible outcome of the coronavirus crisis could be making some companies a little nervous. What if everyone has to work from home, and everything goes well? Will it force a re-examination of existing work-from-home policies? Will workers have ample evidence to demand a more flexible policy? The large-scale experiment is already underway in China, and it’s already making its way across other countries affected by the growing pandemic.

There is no magic formula that applies to all circumstances, but the simple tips recently shared by San Francisco-based communications firm MacKenzie are pretty darn good:

Communicate with timeliness and sensitivity.

Your employees and clients are looking to you for answers, guidance and assurance. Check in with them throughout this ordeal (as often as needed) to ensure they are informed and know you care.

Be factual and transparent.

People want clarity, even when there isn’t any. Let people know what you do know at the moment and what issues you are working to address. Be honest.

Reiterate your mission and commitment.

Regardless of the situation or circumstances, your organizational mission and commitment to safety and personal well-being should remain constants. Remind your audiences of your purpose and focus.  

We’re in for some very strange twists and turns over the coming weeks and months, and our collective ability to embrace a remote work mindset will play a large part in determining which organizations flounder, muddle through, or thrive. 

Luckily, many of the writers, editors, content strategists, and proofreaders available through Written are remote work pros. In fact, 95% of the communications experts currently on assignment through Written are working very effectively from their home offices. If you’re among those companies struggling with the crisis and you need proven communications reinforcements right away, we can help.