When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most companies found themselves in the position of having to put their employees on a work-from-home arrangement, and this seems to be turning into a permanent situation. Many governments have eased restrictions, allowing people to return to work; however, with new waves of the virus coming periodically, countries have been forced to reimpose lockdowns.
This has made working from home a logical precaution for most companies. Many managers and employees have found this new work style difficult to adapt to. We have gathered a few tips that will help employees to make the best of the situation and set themselves up for success.
Many companies have been reluctant in the past to allow remote work, thinking that they would not get similar levels of productivity as was achieved from office work. Managers find it tempting to micromanage now that most people are forced to work from home.
Companies need to learn to trust their employees more and believe that they will be able to finish the job within the given timelines. Studies have shown that employees that were micromanaged report having decreased morale and a loss of productivity as a result.
Both these problems lead to issues with employee turnover, meaning it’s not a practice that companies should encourage. Managers should not check in on their employees constantly; rather, both parties need to discuss and agree on specific, measurable goals. If these goals are met on a timely basis, managers should not be too focused on the where and how.
In case they do need to keep some form of tracking of their employee’s time, there are solutions such as a time tracker with screenshots that will allow the managers to track the activity levels of specific employees.
Help Them Communicate More Effectively
Internal communication is key to a productive team, especially in a work-from-home situation. Nowadays there are many advanced technologies available that make communication a breeze. Video conferencing and instant messaging allow remote employees to stay in touch with each other and communicate any issues easily.
Employees, however, must first learn the ropes and master the art of communicating digitally to reap the most benefits. You can define individual Steam goals, encourage feedback, and minimize interruptions to help the employees communicate with each other more effectively. You may utilize tools like the ones you can find at https://www.tivian.com/us/products/employee-experience/360-feedback/ to help you collect and analyze the feedback from your employees.
Support Them Emotionally
Having to work from home for long periods can cause mental health struggles in some employees. The employers should take measures to ensure that the team members receive emotional support so they can be motivated and remain content.
The managers need to be calm and remain positive when dealing with the employees so that a healthy environment is fostered. Managers should also manage individual check-ins with the employees to make sure they are kept engaged and active.
Companies need to provide their remote employees access to mental health resources, exercises to relieve stress and other means of support. Companies should keep an active eye out to provide the employees with mental health awareness programs and be able to destress whenever required.
Let Them Know What Is Expected of Them
Managers should communicate with the teams as to what is expected of them. The employees need to know their scope of work, deadlines they must adhere to, what projects they are supposed to work on, and have an outline of deliverables. The employees should also be reminded by the managers that they need to be available during office hours for online meetings, text chats, and calls.
It is not uncommon for most employees to initially be confused about what is expected of them during work from home initially, hence setting expectations helps to eradicate any confusion and misalignment between the different tiers of the company.
Provide the Required Tools
Working remotely poses the extra task of having to do everything online. So if employees are unable to send and receive files, have audio issues during online meetings, or get cut off during a chat conversation, it is the company’s failure to provide reliable tools for the employee to perform effectively.
The company needs to provide the proper tools to its employees so they can stay connected and be productive while they are working from home. Tools like an online timesheet calculator can easily track clock in/outs, meal breaks, and overtime compensation of the employees for better salary management. Messaging and video conferencing apps can help them maintain a steady flow of communication required to carry out all tasks smoothly.
Ask Employees to Dedicate Space for Office Work
Many job responsibilities don’t just require a dedicated space for performing office tasks; they also require two separate computers, one for personal use and the other to be used specifically for official work. If that is not possible, then managers can ask the employees to have a separate space dedicated to official tasks. This way the employee can easily separate their official work from their communication with friends and family during office hours.
Encourage Regular Breaks
Breaks are pretty much programmed in at the office. Things, however, are different at home. You can easily get caught up in work at home when you are working by yourself. It’s pretty easy to get burned out this way as the breaks get fewer and farther between.
Taking short breaks throughout the day between your tasks can help in reducing stress and help increase well-being in the workplace or even at home. Hence, managers should encourage their employees to take regular breaks, which will directly cause improved mental health and make productivity higher.
Remote work is a safe and convenient option for countries that have government-imposed lockdowns due to COVID-19. This form of work might have a few challenges, but it also has quite a few advantages for both the employees and the company.
It becomes fairly easy for the company to beat the odds in this adverse situation when it matches the right people with the right jobs at the right place. So go through the steps mentioned above to help keep your employees reach their maximum potential while they are working from home.