Recent months have resulted in more employees than ever working remotely, rather than physically going into an office. While some businesses have had remote employees since their inception, this is a brand new experience for many workers, managers, and companies. Because of the unexpected circumstances, many have found themselves unprepared for the unique challenges involved. If you are a manager, however, there are some things you can do to help.
Recommend Known Techniques
There are many known techniques that remote workers have been using for a long time that can also help those new to work from home. As a manager, if you have employees who are struggling to find their way through the adjustment period, there are some fantastic tips for working remotely available online.
Common advice includes deliberately establishing routines for the beginning and end of your workday, cultivating a workspace even if you don’t have a true office at home, continuing to socialize with colleagues, and asking for help whenever it is needed. As their boss, you would be wise to encourage your employees to over-communicate, as remote workers tend to overestimate how much they are communicating with their teams and leaders, while actually not talking with each other enough to function at pre-remote levels.
Keep Them Busy
As their manager, it is your job to keep track of the projects and tasks of your employees and ensure they are being completed effectively. However, you may find that there are some workers who simply do not have enough to do. While at the office, this problem tends to resolve itself, as coworkers may ask this person for assistance or they may stumble upon or ask for new tasks to work on.
However, while working from home, there are most likely additional distractions in place, and there is less likely to be a true work environment at home for employees who are working from home unexpectedly. The end result of this is that employees who finish tasks are less likely to pick up new ones unless you are assigning them. This might mean more work for you for as long as your employees are working remotely.
Check in Often
While it is important for employees to communicate even more than they feel necessary, it is even more important for managers to reach out to their employees regularly. As their boss, it is your job to check in with everyone each day to ensure their needs are met and they are meeting their work goals. Every day you should be reaching out via email or instant messaging, and following up if you do not get a response right away.
Video call meetings should also be held regularly, both as a team and one-on-one. If you were having one-on-one meetings prior to working remotely, consider having them even more often to accommodate the changes that have occurred to everyone’s work schedule and routines. This will give you additional opportunities to address potential problems with productivity and personal wellbeing early on, rather than waiting until bad habits have already taken root.
If you have questions and concerns about how to handle managing a team of remote workers, consider speaking with or reading resources from people who already have experience with the highs and lows of the task. Do additional reading as needed to find tips and tricks that will help you address the specific concerns of your teams and individual employees.
Advise them on how to remain focused and productive, but be understanding when hurdles and roadblocks need to be overcome. Be sure to continue to assign new tasks as frequently as needed, and stay in touch with everyone as frequently as you can to ensure that everyone’s needs are met. These are challenging times for everyone, and working from home for the first time is always difficult. However, with your guidance and encouragement, your employees will make it through with more experience and wisdom than before.
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