All around the world, the nature of work is changing. Jobs that once filled bustling office buildings where employees gathered around the water cooler are now being done from home. And even as whole nations begin to emerge from the effects of COVID-19, many companies are sticking with remote work for the foreseeable future. Large international corporations, such as Google, have implemented a work from home policy through at least the end of 2020.
If you’ve not managed remote teams, this new experience may feel overwhelming. How can you transition to managing a work-from-home staff for the long haul?
Use Technology to Enhance Communications
Even as recently as a decade ago, the work-from-home landscape would have been very different. One of the reasons we’ve been able to make this work so well is our access to collaborative technology. There are many options out there, from video conferencing to online project management tools, that you can tap into. Some popular tech for remote workers includes:
- Remote desktop software such as Team Viewer
- Team chat app like Slack
- Video conferencing like Zoom or MS Teams
- Online office suites such as G Suite from Google
- Cloud storage for shared data
- Collaborative project management tools like Trello
There are so many to choose from and the truth is none are specifically better or worse, so you may want to review them on your own try out several to see what works best. It’s okay to reevaluate and shift gears from time to time.
Offer Career Development and Advancement
Just because employees are working from home it doesn’t mean you should be a hands-off manager. Your team still has the same needs and career goals they’ve always had. Now more than ever, they need your reassurance that they aren’t just spinning their wheels.
Due to the pandemic, many of us feel like we’re living in a perpetual present just trying to get through each day. Uncertainty about the future leads to existential angst, which causes a lot of stress. As a manager, you can help give your team a future to look forward to by continuing to offer career development and advancement opportunities. It’s time to transition your thinking from let’s just get through one day at a time and look forward to the future.
Pay Specific Attention to Work/Life Balance
Just because your team works from home it doesn’t mean they’re available to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As their manager, you need to be responsible for enforcing personal time and boundaries.
It’s okay for your team to take breaks throughout the day and it should be encouraged to avoid burnout. As long as they are completing work on time and available for necessary meetings or activities, they need to be able to learn how to manage their schedule from home in a healthy and balanced way. Provide them with the tools and autonomy to do just that.
Make Your Culture Collaborative
There was a time when workplaces were primarily competitive. While that culture has transitioned over the last decade or so, it’s more important than ever to encourage collaboration instead of competition.
Your team needs to be able to work together, even if they’re working apart. You can create meaningful partnerships and teambuilding experiences to help your employees stay connected along the way.
Keep Employees Involved
It’s also easy for remote workers to start to feel disconnected from the company culture. It’s up to you as a manager to continue to provide the right touchpoints. For example, as you hire new employees who are working on a remote basis, make sure they feel welcome. Send company swag when they start and continue to show them how valuable they are to the organization.
Don’t forget that hiring right the first time is also essential, especially today. Utilizing a system to find, vet, and hire qualified applicants ready to work from home can ensure that everyone starts on the right foot. Check out HireHive to learn more.