For many businesses, teams working remotely is nothing new but, for many more, they have been forced to abandon the confines of the office and trust their employees to remain productive from home. The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in numerous issues that have affected almost every aspect of daily life and, certainly not least, that includes our work life.
With workers that can work from home recommended to do so, thousands of workers have been settling into life working remotely. While many thrive on the flexibility that is afforded to them, many struggle to separate their home and work life, as well as becoming demotivated by the lack of actual human contact, especially if they live alone.
Staff may well find that they are working from home for more than just a couple of weeks, so team leaders must find a way to make the best of a bad situation. Managers have to work hard to keep their team engaged, but neither do they want to micromanage every member of staff by constantly checking in every 10 minutes or so to make sure they are working and not binge-watching the latest series on Netflix.
Keep an Open Channel of Communication
Open a channel of communication where every member of the team can wade in and be a part of. While this is primarily there to discuss business matters, don’t discourage less formal chat as this is replacing the general banter that you enjoyed sat in the same office. Some will be finding this time harder than others, so giving each other a reason to laugh and smile will help to keep the team in engaged and working from the same page.
There are various programmes, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, that offer such functionality, as well as giving team leaders the ability to open project-specific channels so as anything essential and vital can be found easily. Many offices already use such channels in their day-to-day running so, at least in theory, operating this system outside of the office shouldn’t be too difficult.
Use Webcams for Catch-Ups and More
We will assume that most employees will be equipped with a computer/laptop with a webcam. Use this during daily catch-ups, because it is always best when you can see the people you are talking to, rather than just an avatar. Video calls also open up the possibility of engaging the team in team building activities they can do indoors without having to leave home with everyone else.
Calls don’t have to be long, easily limited to just 10 to 15 minutes, but they help to remind staff that they are not alone. As already mentioned beforehand, not everyone is suited to working remotely and can quickly feel lonely and this might be the closest they get to have any kind of human interaction in the day. Humans are social creatures and feed off the energy of interacting with one another.
Recommend Daily Action Plans
Recommend that your team creates daily action plans that they can work towards completing and marking off throughout the day. This will help to form as much of a structured working day as is possible, which will greatly benefit those of whom are not used to working away from their colleagues.
Many freelancers cannot recommend beginning the day by forming a task list highly enough. Without the normal routine of actively going to and from work, it’s all too easy for workers to lose track of their day. It is also why it makes sense to maintain the same working hours at home as you would during a normal day at the office.
Remember that the situation we currently find ourselves living in is not forever and, before you know it, we will be back to living our normal lives. Everyone at the business needs to support one another during such a time of uncertainty for everyone around the world.