Modern problems require modern solutions: as the lockdown has proved, many businesses are now utilizing the internet to send their employees to work remotely. It is the solution that has already helped many people to keep their working positions, and even allows companies to hire new specialists from anywhere in the world.
Changes in working schedules and unstable communication can harm your employees’ productivity and may even lead to anxiety or burn out. It is why establishing a home office for your employees needs to be a careful and thoughtful process. You must ensure that you are providing your employees with all the important information and necessary tools to maintain their working routine unproblematically.
Here are some tips on how to do so:
Get All the Necessary Tools
To make your company go completely online, you need to ensure that you have all the essential tools and platforms available. Create a working plan for your business to see what exactly may be helpful in your case. It may be enough to limit your company’s communication to calls in Zoom and Slack chats, or you may need to go further and get hosted PBX to ensure a stable communication in case of emergencies.
It is better to choose the necessary tools in advance and spend some time explaining how to use them. You may even want to even run some workshops about the platforms and programs. Make sure your employees understand the purposes of using the tools by showing them from your perspective.
Set New Rules
Rules that apply at the physical office are not always relevant when working from home, so set some new ones! They do not have to be so strict that everyone is scared to make any move. Try to formulate the guidelines more as common agreements that can be discussed. For example; not to mix working chats with non working-related topics (create a separate channel if needed) or to add all the meetings with the agenda and participants to the calendar in advance to exclude any overlaps.
Here are some suggestions that might help establish a new way of working:
- Respond to messages within one hour during working hours;
- Do not participate in working chats outside the working hours;
- Enable video by default during online meetings or not – the point here is to set up a unified system for meetings (but turning the video on will help all of you to adapt quickly and place yourself in a working environment);
- Use real avatars and names in work communication channels (transparency simplifies the communication process).
Simple rules will help to organize the whole process of being distant but still working together and eliminate the possibility of misunderstandings.
Trust Your Team
Diving into micromanagement and controlling what your employees do at any given time would be a huge mistake. Remote work is the format where focus shifts from the process, count of hours, and physical presence on to the result. It would be better to make sure that everyone can be online to reply if needed and let your team work on the assigned tasks independently.
Instead, pay more attention to the distribution of the tasks, their correct formulation, and deadlines – then everything except the results will no longer be important. Remind yourself that your employees work in your company for a reason, and therefore deserve respect, not parental control.
Another thing to remember is that you are still working with people, even if you do not see their faces all the time. Do not forget to notice the work your employees have done, share the results, and encourage them – highlighting the successes is still important. It is also crucial to share your own actions from the meetings you have held to what conclusions you have reached, and your plans on the company’s future. Communication with your team should be a dialogue, not an interrogation.
Epidemics pass, but the skills to adapt to continually changing conditions as well as new (and even more effective) methods of work remain with you. The home office is very challenging for managers in the first place, but if you succeed organizing your team here – you will succeed everywhere else.
When transforming your company’s working processes into the home office, you should keep in mind your employees’ comfort and create conditions that will help them to adapt quickly. Ensure that the new working routine is transparent and understandable for everybody, and limit tools you will use to an essential minimum. Excluding all the distractions like working chats with non-related content and emphasizing on the results will allow your employees to find their pace and contribute with quality work.
Following (not too many) essential steps will lead you to create a working environment that is conducive with being productive, engaged and bursting with creative ideas. Isn’t it what you want from your employees?