Ask The Expert – Solutions for Working in New Ways

Solutions for Working in New Ways

by Ardele Karaganis, People First HR Services

Workplaces all over the province, country, and world are experiencing a drastic shift in how they do business. Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada to allow employees to work remotely when necessary, organizations are digging deep to find the right creative solutions for their workforce, allowing those that can work from home, to do so, and making the environment safe for those that are unable to.

There isn’t a ‘one solution fits all’ situation but if you are offering remote work solutions, ensuring you have the infrastructure to offer remote connectivity is a priority. Questions around productivity, team cohesion, and mental health in remote workplaces are all part of the challenge.

How are we staying healthy in our remote workplaces?

  • Consider setting up daily meets/huddles through audio and video conferencing. It allows you and your groups to set the tone for the day and allows for collaboration between employees.
  • Create productivity trackers or time tracking where you can feel confident that remote workplaces are still productive environments and not paid staycations. Employees expect to be held accountable for their work, whether in a remote setting or not.
  • While we are physically distancing ourselves, we can still be socially connected through various chat platforms and technology applications. Consider what works best for you but stay connected!
  • Have fun with it – this is a tense time for the world – as leaders of an organization, do what you can do bring in some fun. For example – share pictures of your workspaces, share podcasts, etc.
  • Encourage and model staying active to ensure body mind and soul are still being taken care of.
  • Remind employees about employee assistance and mental health services to help manage the changes.

Solutions for organizations that cannot offer remote workplaces:

For organizations that are unable to offer remote work, here are some ways to support employees and help ease the concerns about coming into the workplace:

  • Consider staggering ‘at work/in-office’ schedules: To ensure employees feel safe in physical distancing, create a schedule where employees come to work on different days of the week.
  • Reconfiguring workspaces:  With fewer employees in the building, separate those still in office and make use of the vacant areas.  Remember that a 2-meter radius is recommended.
  • Cross Train: Some employees working from home may prefer to be in the office; others can learn new skills. Be curious about your employees’ willingness to be part of this type of solution.

Amid COVID-19, what can I do for my employees?

Be understanding: COVID-19 has changed and will change everyone’s lives. No one is exempt from the impact. Employees look to their leaders for stability and encouragement.

Be patient: Being patient with how employees are handling and recovering from the constant change and impact is something we can all demonstrate. It’s healthy.

Be collaborative:  Take the perspective of your employees, explain that business continuity protects everyone’s jobs, and have an open conversation that asks employees for their ideas.  People who have a voice feel more empowered and are more likely to accept the solutions provided.

Working remotely requires a different skill set for leaders as they build trust in their teams virtually and create different ways to measure team performance. Find out more about how PFHR is approaching a certified coaching program for these leaders here.

What business suffers and I am facing the reality of layoffs and terminations?

You are not alone. This is the reality of many businesses in the face of COVID-19. Here are key tips:

  • Handle employees with care – be honest, be clear, be thoughtful. They won’t forget their job loss experience and how they were treated.
  • Be informed of your legislative responsibilities in any layoff or termination.  
  • If you are looking for affordable transition supports that are exclusively online, consider It guides individuals through the process of job change and provides online tools as they are working through the change.

If you are facing tough business realities and are considering layoffs and termination services, People First HR provides Separation Support Services. We will work with you through the right solution. Click here to learn more.  

Need help building or supporting your HR infrastructure?

Contact our HR @ Your Service Team at or call us at 1-866-940-3950

Our Expert

Ardele Karaganis
Senior Consultant, Strategic HR Consulting
People First HR Services