With almost a quarter of the world’s population facing restrictions on their everyday lives due to COVID-19. Millions of people are now having to do their jobs from home.
Although many organizations were beginning to move towards a more flexible way of working, they have now suddenly found themselves forced to adopt it almost overnight. Now we are faced with the issue of people working from home, who have never done it being managed by people with no experience of managing a dispersed team.
Here is how to support your employees as they adapt to this new way of working.
Give Them The Right Tools
Technology is allowing businesses to remain operational throughout the pandemic and restrictions on movement, but you need to choose the right tools for the job.
Doing everything by email isn’t going to cut it as your main tool for communication. In their blog on digital workplaces, Base22 says that email is “still and online communication tool that is useful for one-to-one connection or specific business processes that require some formality. Its curse, however, is that the world has become faster and it has always felt somewhat one-sided.”
If you’re already using tools such as Slack or Teams, then that’s a great headstart but try to anticipate what else you might need to your product stack for things like video conferencing.
Keep in mind that not everyone will be as quick to pick up programs as others, so don’t introduce too many too fast.
Set Realistic Expectations
Working from home is a new experience for a lot of people, and they aren’t doing it under normal circumstances.
Employees might also be dealing with children being at home, or elderly, sick relatives to look after. There’s also a lot of anxiety around the pandemic which is playing on people’s minds.
Be realistic with yourself about what your company can and can’t achieve in a remote setup and communicate this to them.
Overpolicing remote staff can cause even more anxiety and a lack of productivity. Yes, you want to make sure that core work is being done but you also need to anticipate a level of distraction that is going to affect focus and productivity to a certain extent.
Find Ways To Stay Connected
The usual social interactions we have at work are no longer there. From chatting to someone in the kitchen to enjoying an after-work drink with co-workers. It helps a team bond, to be supportive of each other and to achieve more.
This is where you have to get creative. Try having a Slack channel dedicated to non-work topics, or introduce virtual coffee breaks where people can video conference together for a chat while. Maybe even clock off an hour early on a Friday and have a digital happy hour.
Try to get your team involved in coming up with ideas, rather than it being ‘imposed’ by management. It will give them something to focus on unrelated to work or other issues.
Remember, you’re all in this together.