At the time of this writing, the global coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, leaving many companies with no other choice but to work from home. Shifting to a virtual arrangement may come easy for some yet poses a unique challenge for others, especially for managers who find themselves in uncharted territory.
Certainly, the sudden change in dynamics is expected to affect productivity. Whether the impact will be positive or negative will depend largely on how the transition will be carried out. If done carelessly, chances are that your workers will become disengaged and discouraged.
You might think that a remote team is easier to manage than a traditional one. This isn’t always the case, even more so with COVID-19 at your doorstep. Tensions are high as economies remain unstable. The tiniest gaffe as a leader may cause your staff to search for greener pastures.
If people keep resigning, the workload and stress will increase causing even more employees to leave. This is a dangerous cycle that you simply can’t afford during this time.
Proper management is key if you want to keep your remote workers happy and productive. For those who are new to this, here are some tips to guide you:
Get everyone equipped
There have been stories of organisations allowing their people to bring their workstations with them. This is helpful for those who don’t have a computer at home.
A number of businesses are subsiding the internet connection even. A few are providing funds so the employee can buy a brand new unit too.
If this is possible for your team and budget, why not consider it?
Make communication easy
A 2017 study by Harvard Business Review found that over 50% of virtual staff feel mistreated and left out. To combat this, check in with your own remote team as frequently as possible. You’ll need to provide the necessary tools for this purpose, such as Asana, Slack or Zoom.
Also, establish a protocol by scheduling regular video meetings or conference calls. Keep your lines open for any questions or concerns as well.
Try to be more understanding
You must realise that working from home might be a new experience for your team too. If you’re juggling different responsibilities at home like childcare and technology issues, the same may be said for them.
Practice empathy as you’re not the only one who’s adjusting to the arrangement. See things from their perspective as you might even learn a few things from them about multitasking.
Keep track of assignments
There’s already plenty to think about when transitioning from a traditional workplace to a home office. Ensuring that progress is being made and deadlines are being met doesn’t have to be added to that.
Now’s the best time to invest in a collaborative tool for tracking projects. With this, your workers will have access to all relevant information in one place without having to ask you for every little thing.
Set reasonable expectations
Just because someone is working remotely, it doesn’t mean they’re available 24/7. Let everyone know that work-life balance will still be maintained.
Stick to whatever was previously agreed on, be it a 40-hour week or a 6-hour shift per day.
When thinking to modify the schedule, talk to your employees first and seek their input. Be fair with the pay and cascade information on the changes as soon as possible.
Assume the best
It’’s hard to know what’s going on with assignments when you can’t meet face-to-face. Despite this, assume positive intent from your team. Anyone feels anxious and stressed when chasing deadlines.
Your people are there to make your company successful even if you can’t see them doing so in real-time. Trust them to meet your expectations so they’ll be motivated to do their best.
Show your appreciation
Sending their salary on time isn’t a prize for hard work; it’s a given. You must go the extra mile in making achievers feel appreciated.
Note that rewards don’t even have to be financial as a quick announcement on the group chat is already a great way to boost morale.
Consider promotions for consistent top performers. If not, look at improving their flexible work options.
Recognise unique traits
Some people naturally thrive when working from home. Others are starved for personal interaction and will need more support in the transition.
To find out what management style works best, have an honest conversation with each member. For instance, introverts may prefer that you keep interactions at a minimum so they can concentrate on their work.
Make health a priority
The world is in the middle of a fight against an infectious disease. Many are worried about keeping loved ones and themselves safe from the coronavirus. Don’t turn a deaf ear to their woes.
Instead, help everyone stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. Do a sanity check or ask about their well-being every so often. This does a lot at keeping you sane too.
Have some fun
In several countries, people have been stuck at home for months so they could use some levity. Maybe you can create a group chat where you can play some games or show off your pets during breaks.
Think of it as a virtual water cooler or lounge where workers can build bonds with each other and stave off the boredom. A lot of things are happening all around so do what you can to encourage others.
Embracing the Change
Everything is different now and you have to acknowledge that. As a leader, you must learn to effectively manage and drive performance. Handling dynamic environments is easier when you follow the tips we’ve shared above.
Your job will also proceed more smoothly when your team is comprised of individuals who are experienced in working from home. Someone who is already in a remote setup won’t be as heavily affected by the change compared to those who only know to work in a traditional office.
We at Remote Workmate can help you form your virtual team. We’ll source candidates from various corners of the Web and screen applicants to help you find the best talent.
In addition, we have a pool of high performers who might suit your needs. All that’s needed is that we discuss your requirements beforehand.
Schedule a call with us and let’s talk about the needs of your business.