One of the drastic changes most companies have to face is the work set-up of employees.
While some companies already have work from home set-up even before the pandemic, most companies were left with no choice but to adapt to ensure business continuity while keeping their employees safe.
How can business owners, with no experience managing remote employees, navigate this “new normal”?
Here are some helpful tips.
Set clear expectations
Everyone is adjusting to this work style and may have different ideas on how to go about it. Make sure all team members know and agree with schedules, expected output, parameters, deadlines, metrics, etc.
Have reliable tools
For your employees to work effectively, you have to ensure they have the right tools.
Do they have a stable internet connection? Can they download and share files easily? What platform can be used by everyone for video meetings and collaborations?
Here are some tools you can use: Slack, Messenger, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.
Establish good online communication
Good communication is key to the success of a remote team.
Working remotely does not mean you cannot establish relationships with your team members. Schedule a regular video meeting to communicate with them. Ask them if there are concerns or challenges they are experiencing. You may even ask if there are things they are anxious about. And when they share with you, listen, and empathize.
Make sure your employees know they can reach you anytime.
Communication will be different online than when you were working in an office so be sure you have an avenue where they can send you a direct message when they need to.
Reinstill the Company’s Vision, Mission, and Core Values
It is easy to build the organizational culture when everyone is physically present in the workplace since you can come up with activities to strengthen it.
But, remote employees may need to be realigned with the Vision, Mission, and Core Values to keep them on the same page. Remind how their tasks are contributing to the overall Company Vision. Instill the company values that employees should practice since they represent the organization.
Focus on the goals
Working remotely makes it hard to monitor your employees but resist the urge to micromanage. Remember that what is important is they deliver the desired results or output. If the expected output is not met, this is the perfect opportunity to do coaching.
Know what situations hinder your employee in meeting the goal. Guide them in coming up with options that can help them address the performance gap.
Maintain consistent work hours
With remote work, it can give you the feeling that your employees can work anytime since they can be virtually present whenever something needs to be done. The downside of this is, employees can experience a virtual burnout because there’s no longer a distinct working hours. They may even be obliged to work even on rest days.
Whether your employees work on flexible hours or on a fixed schedule, make sure there are boundaries set. Respect the agreed working hours so they have personal time left for themselves and for their families.
Adjusting to the abrupt shift of remote work while making sure to meet deadlines is not easy. If the team meets expectations, be generous in recognizing their efforts. You can be creative in how you do this. You can schedule a virtual pizza party or wine night. Through this, you not only motivate them to continue doing their job well but promote a sense of belongingness. It will boost their morale too.
Sometimes, it’s hard for leaders to work remotely because they’re not sure they’ll get the same productivity from their employees compared to when they were in the office. However, trust that your team will be committed to achieving targets. This could be hard at first, but trust is vital to make a remote work set up successful.
More than ever, standing up as a leader to your team is needed during this time. The success of the team is the success of the whole organization as well.