If your team has not worked remotely before, it can be a big and unsettling change from the routine of working in an office environment. Suddenly there are more distractions and temptations within arm’s reach, to say nothing of pets or kids or noisy neighbors.
As a manager, your team will look up to you and follow the direction and example you set. It’s possible to work successfully from home, after making some adjustments in expectations and priorities.
Here’s how to establish realistic goals for success while working remotely:
Make sure everyone has the right equipment.
Does everyone have a laptop capable of running all the necessary software? Do all the members of your team have high-speed WiFi connectivity? Will any other pieces of equipment — scanners? Headsets? Wireless or wired keyboards and mice? Setting up home workspaces might require some hardware purchases. Either send your employees home with them or make it, so it’s easy for them to be reimbursed for any remote-work equipment.
Set up good, reliable, and easy lines of communication and use them often.
Research into remote work shows that most employees have a hard time adjusting to not being able to simply walk over to another desk and speak to a colleague or manager. The best way to reassure employees and help them transition to a successful new arrangement is for regular check-ins, both individually and as teams. Whether that’s a weekly one-on-one chat, regular team meetings via any of the several teleconferencing, a combination of the two or something else tailored to your team and their needs, find ways to make sure your employees hear from you and can be heard by you. Make sure, also, that you’ve adopted and incorporated a chat system for instant communication.
Establish and maintain structure.
The first few days will be the most difficult, but try to set up a schedule to maintain, as much as possible, a regular workday and workflow. This will help make your team feel like the expectations of working in an office will be the same now that they’re at home, with regular demands and deadlines. It’s also something of a comfort to have reliable working rhythms when working in unorthodox places.
Have a clear start and end times for the day and acknowledge them.
Employees who transition from working in an office to working remotely or from home might become nervous that their manager will assume they’re not working as hard as they should. Some might overcompensate for that by logging in early or working late to show their dedication to the job. This can lead to more stress and working longer hours than needed — or necessary — and can foster resentment and employee burnout. Reiterate to your team, especially at first, that their working hours remain the same, and they’re not expected to be on-call all hours of the day.
Encourage teamwork and morale boosters.
It’s more difficult to congratulate someone on a job well done in front of their peers while everyone’s scattered. Make sure your team knows who’s knocking it out of the park and send little morale-boosting virtual high-fives or trophies via the team chat. It might sound a little silly, but it’s those little things that will keep people’s spirits up.
Whether your employees will be working remotely from now on, on a temporary basis, or if you’re expanding your telework options, taking the time to set up your employees with all the tools they’ll need to succeed will make the transition seamless. It will make your employees more confident and more productive and will keep things running smoothly.
Look for more advice from LeadingEdge Personnel
If you’re looking for more advice on how to lead your team through a transition or preparing to add a new member to your workforce, contact LeadingEdge. We’re ready to help you lead the way to a profitable and successful year ahead, whatever challenges may arise. Contact LeadingEdge today, and let’s prepare for the future.