The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of traditional life as we knew it, including workplace structure and culture. If your workplace is one of the many businesses that has adopted remote work over the last several months, you’re probably looking for ways to make the transition easier and more productive for yourself and your employees.
In this post, we’ll show you some simple tips that’ll help you manage your newly remote employees in a way that works for everyone.
Step 1: Get set up
Working from home can be a really rewarding setup for many of your employees — everyone gets their own workspace, no more commuting, fewer in-office distraction, the list goes on. However, for your remote employees to stay on top of their productivity goals, everyone needs to have the tools and equipment needed to get the job done.
If you were to poll your in-house employees whether or not they’d ever expected to work remotely in 2020, the answer would probably be “no.” With that said, you can assume that most of your employees don’t have a full-on office setup at home. While much of their work can probably be done with a laptop and basic software essentials, there’s something to be said about establishing a designated office space. Making sure your staff are armored up with the appropriate essentials can help ensure productivity and morale levels stay where they should be.
So long as you can do so safely, allow employees to pick up their desk essentials from the office so that they can create their own home office space that’s conducive to their daily work. If you’ve been able to cut costs on office space, consider sending employees a voucher or stipend to purchase their own home office needs, such as an ergonomic office chair or standing desk. Having these essentials on-hand will improve morale and make your team’s workday much more comfortable and, therefore, more productive.
Step 2: Set expectations
While you may have team members who have worked from home before, this is a new experience for millions of Americans. To help your staff navigate these new waters, it’s important to set expectations ahead of time. From online business hours and communication standards to instructions for resolving IT issues, everything should be laid out in detail for your team. Remember, remote workdays look very different than in-office ones, so make sure your expectations are crystal clear from the start.
ProTip: If you have an employee manual, you may want to revise it to reflect your WFH policies — make sure to go over any changes with your staff once updates have been made.
Step 3: Get organized
When it comes to managing projects remotely, organization is of the utmost importance. Thankfully, technology has made this easier than ever before. Here are a few organizational software essentials to help you get started:
- Cloud hosting: Allows your team to access data remotely, make updates, and communicate between departments.
- For accounting software: Lacerte & ProSeries tax software hosting
- For sales: Salesforce CRM
- Project management: Helps employees keep track of daily tasks, collaborate among teams, celebrate milestones.
- Communication/internal messaging: Creates a line of quick communication between staff members.
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
Step 4: Create communication
In addition to providing internal messaging platforms, it’s also important to encourage in-person (virtual) communication between your employees. Try to do face-to-face check-ins via Zoom with your team weekly or bi-weekly — eye contact and facial expression play a big role in workplace communication, so you don’t want that to go totally out the window with remote work life.
Step 5: Embrace remote culture
There’s no doubt that remote work life has a different feel than in-office work culture, however, you shouldn’t mistake that for a lack of culture. There are plenty of virtual hangouts to be had, and it’s a great way to reconnect with colleagues and boost team spirit. Host a virtual happy hour, play Jackbox.tv games, send memes, or launch a virtual talent show to start.
Transitioning to remote work can be a big challenge for many employers, but with these simple steps, you’ll take a liking to it in no time! How has the WFH transition been for your team so far? Open up the discussion in the comment section below.