Due to uncertainties from Covid-19, many companies have asked their employees to work remotely. In normal circumstances, it’s a good idea to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, however in times of crisis such as this one; it’s not always possible to do this. Luckily, there are some steps that managers can take to improve the engagement and productivity of their employees while working remotely, even when they don’t have much time to prepare.
Common Challenges of Remote Work
It’s important that managers understand the factors that can make remote work difficult for their employees and not just themselves. For example, otherwise, high-performing employees often experience declines in job performance and engagement when they begin working remotely. The lack of face-to-face supervision and interaction can be detrimental to both managers and their employees because supervisors worry that their employees will not work as hard or as efficiently and many employees struggle with the fact they have less support on hand and They don’t find the communication as easy as when they are in the office. So how can you overcome these challenges?
Agree on ways of working
It’s important to establish how you’re going to do this. How often do you want your employees to check-in, let them know how long you will take to get back to them with feedback. Basically, be clear about what you expect from your employees and what they can expect from you.
If you talk regularly with your employees, then you can keep up to date on the day to day stuff. Continue to review short-term goals regularly and adjust them as you need to. Try to talk throughout the day just as you would in the office and then maintain your regular one to ones and team huddles as well. Also, make sure your team can always see your calendar so they know when they can contact you.
Make sure employees have everything they need.
This includes IT equipment, PUWER regs which ensure the safety of people operating, maintaining and having control over their equipment and machinery used in their workplaces but also covers people using the equipment while working from home. Don’t forget about any training they might need so that they can to use online systems to work remotely.
At work, be it chatting over the desk or while waiting for the kettle to boil, conversations happen in passing, and you share information that might not be anything to do with what you’re working on, but you never know where the conversation will go, and it could end up inspiring you or someone else in the office for a project. If you’ve read an interesting news article in the morning or seen a funny meme, share it with your colleagues just as you would have done in the office and encourage everyone else to do the same.
Tailor your feedback
When people are working from home, they can be a little more anxious about their work; they can be more sensitive to criticism and sometimes not take things in the way they were intended over email. Be mindful of this when giving feedback to your employees both when talking and writing. Also make sure it’s not just criticism you give, give plenty of praise when necessary too.
Build on your relationships
Make time for social conversations to build rapport and ease communication between people who may not meet often. This also reduces feelings of isolation which many people experience when they are working from home.