Among the many lessons the COVID-19 pandemic continues to teach us, one of the most important is the need to be prepared. Whether it’s nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or individuals, it is imperative that we have an “adaptation plan” that guides us as we navigate through this rapidly changing time.
Remote work has been one of the biggest changes brought about by the pandemic. Its effects have been felt by almost all of us. However, while most employees say that flexibility is an important consideration for them and many organizations say they are prepared for it, the situation on the ground doesn’t seem so smooth.
In a survey conducted by GoodHire, 60% of managers said they’d prefer a full-time return to office and 77% said they’d take action against workers who refuse to return to the office. Decades of established practices and a lack of clear directions are just a few reasons managers may make choices that negatively impact the talent pool.
In an already competitive job market, it is important that organizations let go of old practices and get ready to answer the demands of a changing workforce. By 2030, with Gen Z fully entering the workforce, it is projected that the demand for remote work will increase by 30%.
Both millennials and the Gen Z’ers are not only passionate about social change, but they work toward it every day. Combine this desire to drive change with the ability to work remotely and you will see that nonprofit organizations are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the changing professional landscape.
Use these tips to help ensure that your remote work policy doesn’t simply look good on paper, but shines in practice.
Embrace Technology and Training
If there was one challenge that seemed to unite all of us, it was the quick shift to online communication and collaboration. From fumbling with tools to not being comfortable on camera, we all struggled with using technology for remote work. While we may have become significantly more adept at using technology to aid us, a large number of employees feel they lack the proper training to use remote work management platforms.
As a nonprofit organization, your team may be scattered around the city, or even across the country. It is imperative that you prioritize technology training to ensure that your employees can continue to work seamlessly, irrespective of where they are working from. Not only does this keep the workflow moving, but importantly, it helps your team members stay in touch with each other, see their work in the bigger picture, and feel productive.
Consider several training sessions for new employees. Even if they have used the same tools before, your nonprofit organization could be using them differently. Solicit feedback from current employees. There may be challenges they face or learnings they can share that will help you build a robust technology training program.
Equip Your Team with Adequate Resources
While an office setup ensures that all employees have equal access to devices, Internet connection, and technology support on premises, this may not be the case for remote work. As a nonprofit organization with a mission to support and uplift your community, it is important for you to equip your team with the tools and resources they need to accomplish their work.
Laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots keep your employees connected when they are working from home. Importantly, they also come in handy should your team get together for off-site team building activities.
Acknowledge Different Work Environments
The shift to remote work has revealed more challenges than we expected. Chief among them was the realization that everyone’s home environments are different.
For example, your team member may not have a dedicated room to work from, or they may be sharing their home space with others. In this scenario, they may be uncomfortable turning on their cameras during meetings.
Nonprofit organizations should train managers on taking an empathetic approach with their team members. It is also important for leadership teams to hand over autonomy to managers so they can be flexible with their own teams and their unique needs.
Instead of turning away talented employees with non-typical home work environments, nonprofit organizations should make room for flexibility and adaptability.
Have a Remote Work Policy in Place
Whether you are still mulling over the possibility of remote work, have a hybrid setup in place, or are already fully remote, it is important to have an official remote work policy in place.
Remote work is still new for everyone. A documented remote work policy helps manage expectations and allows your leadership teams to build stronger relationships with their teams.
A few things you will want to include in your remote work policy will revolve around things like cybersecurity, working hours requirements, and video conference expectations. Having a documented policy that employees can access at any time will help avoid future misunderstandings.
Ready Your Nonprofit for Remote Work
As a nonprofit organization, you are familiar with charting new paths. You are also aware that long-established practices take work to be changed. However, you also know that it’s only through change that we evolve.
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