One of the biggest changes brought on by COVID-19 is the abrupt shift to remote work. Employees accustomed to going into the office every day suddenly find themselves having to adjust to working from home.
If you’ve never managed remote employees before, then you’re probably nervous about the situation. It’s normal to be concerned that sales and productivity will suffer in the coming months.
5 Ways to Help Remote Employees
The situation may take a little trial and error, but there are many ways you can help your employees thrive during this time. Here are five ways you can help your newly remote employees:
1. Set clear expectations
According to Gallup, roughly half of all U.S. employees don’t know what employers expect of them at work. This ambiguity is challenging enough in the workplace, but it’s a recipe for disaster when your employees suddenly find themselves working remotely.
The best way to ensure that your employees stay productive and on-task are by setting very clear expectations. Your employees need to know what work they need to complete and the deadlines of any important projects.
It’s also a good idea to let employees know how this work fits in with the broader mission of the company.
2. Be flexible about work schedules
Don’t expect your employees to stick with the same schedule they had when they were coming into the office every day. It’s unrealistic, especially as schools across the country continue to close, and many of your employees are likely juggling work and parenting during the day.
Your employees know what is expected of them and what work they need to produce. Trust them to get it done, and don’t worry about whether or not they’re putting in eight-hour days.
3. Communicate frequently with your employees
Make sure you regularly communicate with your employees. Address the situation with COVID-19 and let them know what company leadership is doing to prepare for the coming months. Frequent communication will help ease their fears and avoid giving into panic.
4. Allow employees to connect
There are a lot of advantages to working remotely, but many employees can find it isolating. So allow your employees to connect, albeit remotely.
If you regularly have team calls, then plan for some time to catch up and discuss non-work items. You can also plan virtual events for your employees. This may sound silly, but it can go a long way toward helping your employees feel less isolated.
5. Offer encouragement and support
Your employees are under a lot of stress right now. Working from home can be a big adjustment, and they are likely concerned about whether they’ll still be employed a few months from now.
Ask your employees how they’re doing and listen to their responses. They will likely adapt to the situation much easier if they feel encouraged and heard by company management.
To your success!
Written by Brian Johnson