How Businesses Can Make It Easier for Employees to Stay Home

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The era of “squeeze everything out of the employee” is over, nowadays progressive leaders are trying to take care of employees, prevent overload and burnout, minimize staff turnover and thereby contribute to a positive image of the company. But hardly anyone wondered how to continue doing the same in a remote work environment and not reduce all previous efforts to zero. In this regard, we have several recommendations:

1. Trust your team aka turn off “parental controls”

This does not mean that you need to go into the shadows and leave employees on their own. But it would be a big mistake to hit on micromanagement, to control what a specialist does at any given time. 

Chances are that you have already found out about time tracking services and that some people force specialists to work with a turned-on webcam. This is a rather humiliating practice that has nothing to do with motivation and productivity.

Remote work is the format in which the entire corporate decorative layer is peeled off, and the focus shifts from the process, physical presence, and the number of working hours to what is really important – the result. 

Crisis situations are a great chance to think not about the client’s trust in the company, but about yours – in employees and employees trust in you.

2. Schedule calls and video conferences

Let your employees know that meetings will take place at such intervals and with such regularity. We do not know how your company was organized before, but daily morning stand-ups and weekly summaries are good practice.

If you need an additional meeting to the regular meeting, you shouldn’t just throw a link to the conference. Your staff will appreciate it if you identify an issue that needs to be resolved and send an invitation to the meeting an hour before the meeting starts. Firstly, this way the discussion of the problem will be more productive since everyone will come to the meeting with some considerations, and secondly, this way the employees will be able to finish some piece of work, that they were doing, and not get out of the state of concentration at the first whistle.

3. Define simple rules

To make it easier for you and your team, immediately indicate that the new working conditions require some new rules.

Such as:

Respond to chat messages within an hour

There is no need to make a momentary response the norm. First, a rare task cannot wait an hour. Second, asynchronous communication, rather than constant distractions, fosters deep work. An employee can answer a question addressed to him during a break or in between his main tasks. Otherwise, there is a risk that constant correspondence, work messages late at night and early in the morning will become an indicator of active, selfless work, and it makes no sense to encourage this.

Do not write to work chats outside of working hours

In remote teams, there is a high risk of overwork and burnout. It leads to the risk of losing an important employee. Therefore, make sure that the working day of your team ends and explain that you are not expecting heroism, but systematic productive work.

Enable video by default

We agree that in general, the transmission of information by voice is sufficient, and the video is a bonus. But for the adaptation period, we recommend that you still make this a rule. Not for the sake of communication not to lose its non-verbal component, but because daily meetings with video communication are great discipline.

To do this, you will need to at least get up in advance, put yourself in order, sit down at your workplace, take care of a decent background, etc.  All this will already set you up for work and give you a good start. Otherwise, sooner or later, you will be tempted to join the meeting while lying in bed or having breakfast. And this relaxes, tasks shift, the working day lengthens and as a result, instead of the advantages and freedom of remote work, employees will accumulate fatigue.

Use real avatars and names in communication channels

It doesn’t matter if you use common chats for your team or if you are more responsible and use a special employee app, everything should be simple and transparent in working communications. No one wants to guess which of the cats on the avatar is the colleague you need now.

4. Clarify

This is your main function as a leader. Make sure that the tasks are clear and that each employee knows what is expected of him and when. This is the only way to avoid getting lost and frustrated when working from home.

If you organized a phone call to discuss a problem, make sure that, as a result, everyone knows what to do now, what conclusion everyone has come to. It is critical to document and share the results of all meetings and discussions. To do this, you can record decisions yourself or assign someone from the participants to this role. So, at the end of the meeting, everyone will have a plan of action in front of them.

Conclusion

Epidemics pass, but the skills to adapt to changing conditions, new and often more effective methods of work remain with you. We know for sure that remote teams are forging the best managers. So we advise you to take maximum benefit from the current conditions.