COVID-19 has forced most companies to move online, forever changing the way we work. Though telecommuting has become more popular in recent years, the crisis has pushed some employees and managers to work from home for the first time.
As a manager, this rapid shift can be difficult to navigate. How can you remain an effective leader and support your remote employees? Keep reading for essential tips on managing remote workers.
The key to managing your employees remotely is to understand the specific challenges they are currently facing. The main challenges that employees cite are in the areas of communication, productivity, and isolation.
Remote workers can find it difficult to get a hold of their colleagues and supervisors. This slows down their workflow and can even leave them without vital information. Employees also feel as though they miss out on company updates or policy changes and that communication, in general, requires more effort.
To counter this problem, provide your employees with a vast array of communication software. Consider using chat software such as slack for quick communication company-wide. Take meetings via video chatting platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Google Meet, to share more complex information and for some valuable visual interaction. Establish clear boundaries on how and when to utilize these technologies. For example “all new policies will be announced via email at 9 am on Wednesdays”
Even the most productive amongst us can experience a dip as they adjust to remote work. This can be due to distractions or an increase in at-home responsibilities or even a difficult home environment.
This is where having the right systems and policies in place become beneficial. Generate a rhythm by setting weekly targets for your team and scheduling daily check-ins. These can happen in groups or one-on-one. Beyond this be sure to offer your employee’s emotional support. Show empathy and offer advice, make sure to check on their emotional well being every so often. Also, make sure to check-in with yourself, research suggests that employees will absorb your energy. So if you are stressed they will feel the same, this will reduce productivity. In this time, remain confident and solution-oriented.
Working from home can leave employees missing workplace interactions and with time can actually have negative effects on company culture. This can lead to employees wanting to leave a company.
One of the best ways to combat this is by having frequent virtual calls that do not revolve around work. This can include catching up on current affairs or everyone’s day. You can also schedule virtual parties. On Zoom team members can play games with each other. Or you can even send food or care packages to employees ahead of one of your meetings and enjoy them together on the call.
Working remotely requires a large shift in the way we think and interact. As managers, it is our job to ensure that employees are well supported to make this transition. This includes implementing new software and policies and maintaining your emotional and mental well-being. What are some of the challenges you are facing as a remote leader and how have you overcome them? Let’s continue the discussion in the comments below.