The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, and some of the changes may be permanent. One of the major changes has been the shift from commuting to telecommuting. A Gartner Inc. survey found that 82% of organizations planned to allow remote working even after vaccines are widely available. The respondents were leaders in the finance and real estate, human resources, and legal and compliance fields. Almost half said they would allow employees to work remotely full-time.
Meanwhile, many European workers are reluctant to return to the traditional 9-to-5 world of office work. They favor full-time remote work or flexible office hours instead. There are several benefits to remote working, one of which is increased productivity. However, the new work environment also presents challenges for managers who often find it difficult to engage with employees from a distance. If you’re wondering about how to manage the current challenges while preparing for what the future holds, this article is for you.
Give Your Employees the Tools They Need
We live in the era of technology, but not everyone has the same access to devices and connectivity. Before telling your employees to work from home, you need to make sure they have the tools with which to do so. While a smartphone and a basic laptop will be enough for some workers, others may need microphones or specialized software. Talk to each individual to ensure they are properly equipped.
Choose the Most Appropriate Method of Communication
Communication is always important in an organization. However, when you can’t see your team in person, you need to make sure you choose the right channels. Otherwise, there is likely to be a breakdown in relationships at all levels of the organization. You’ll likely need some combination of emails, phone calls, texts, video chats, and intranet communication.
It’s best to ask employees how they would prefer to communicate with you. You’ll likely find that different employees prefer different modes of communication. You’ll want to strike a balance between sending out information constantly and not engaging with your employees at all. It’s also important that you check in with employees and provide the support they need without making it seem like you don’t trust them to work remotely.
Have An Open-Door Policy
Remember, communication goes both ways. It’s not just about managers notifying employees about deadlines or informing them about additional tasks. Your team members need to be able to come to you with questions and concerns or bounce ideas off you as they normally would in an office setting. Otherwise, they may feel isolated and even more uncomfortable with the “new normal.” Make sure that workers know they’re not alone and don’t be afraid to get creative. You can start a chat group if you didn’t have one before or allow video calls, so people feel more connected. Team members should never be uncertain about where to turn.
Despite the challenging environment, each organization and department has targets to meet. Managers may feel more pressed than ever to ensure that workers are highly productive. This can easily lead to micromanagement, but you must resist the urge to request constant status updates. Check-in regularly, but don’t overdo it.
Focus on Output Instead of Processes
One of the reasons workers love remote jobs is that they can achieve a better work-life balance. Many members of your team are juggling work with homeschooling and other responsibilities. As long as the correct systems are in place, they will complete their tasks, but they may not do them in the same way as they would if they were in office. Find out what’s best for them and accommodate it as far as possible. They may mean altering meeting times or eliminating certain practices.
Continue to Celebrate Successes
In-person meetings and office parties may be on hold for now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your wins. Success probably means more now than it has in the past. Look for ways to celebrate all the usual achievements. Instead of just sending out an email announcing the signing of a new contract or recognizing the employee of the month, consider using videos or engaging graphics to mark the occasion.
Get Support from WiseForce Advisors
Your employees will have varying needs in this new environment. Mature workers will have their own concerns, and you will need to provide the assistance they need. If you’re unsure about how to go about supporting them, the team at WiseForce Advisors is here to help. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the range of services we offer.