Things feeling a little surreal lately?
Prepared or not, our nation’s coronavirus response is prompting many employers to quickly shift to remote work. Unless your organization already has a remote-first workforce, the changes thrust upon you can seem overwhelming.
If you’re new to managing remote workers, where should you start? Today, our national staffing agency is sharing best practices for bringing out the best in your employees when you can’t bring them into the workplace.
Tips for managing remote workers:
- Stay calm and positive. Right now, employees are feeling uncertain, frustrated and even afraid. Even if you’re feeling the same way, you need to take charge as a leader. In trying times, empathy, respect and calmness are essential. Be the voice of reason and source of stability your workers need right now.
- Address technology issues. To work remotely, your team needs access to equipment, cloud-based tools, data protection technology and more. Consult with your IT department or an outside expert to get the right tech in place, so your staff can operate safely and efficiently.
- Establish clear remote work policies. Set clear expectations in writing on work hours, communication and documentation policies, attending meetings, prioritizing tasks and how performance will be measured.
- Balance sound policy with flexibility. If your remote employees know what they’re accountable for, allow them a bit more freedom to get their work done (i.e., resist the urge to micromanage).
- Choose remote-friendly communication tools. Physically separated employees need robust software to collaborate effectively. Tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, Highfive and Zoom allow people to see and hear one another in real-time; many platforms also include essential screen sharing capabilities, too.
- Over Communicate. Information is the best defense against the anxiety newly remote employees may be feeling. Since “water cooler” conversations won’t be happening in person, establish the virtual equivalent:
- Send more frequent update emails.
- Consider adding a collaboration hub like Slack to encourage informal information-sharing.
- Plan more frequent, shorter meetings with your team to stay connected.
- Check in on your employees regularly.
- Expect hiccups and delays. Remote work may be completely new to many (or all) of your employees, and it’s likely that it will take time to adapt to new technology and new processes. Be patient with your team as they make this transition, and remind your workers to be patient with one another, too.
The silver lining to remote work.
While making the transition to facilitate remote work is likely a huge change for your business right now, there are several long-term advantages:
- Cost savings. Thanks to increases in productivity and agility, coupled with reduced absenteeism and turnover, a typical employer can save an average of $11,000 per year for each employee who telecommutes half of the time.
- Productivity gains. In one study, 66% of professionals said their productivity improved when not in an office and 76% said there are fewer distractions outside of offices.
- Alignment with employee preferences. Remote work is an increasingly popular employee request to help them increase work/life satisfaction. In fact, 85% of Millennials say they’d prefer to telecommute 100% of the time.
PrideStaff is here to help.
As you continue to navigate uncharted waters, our national staffing firm is prepared to build creative staffing solutions to your novel workforce challenges. We’ll keep you staffed, flexible and prepared for what’s next. How can we help? Contact your local PrideStaff office today to start a conversation.