The Harvard Business Review says that before the COVID 19 pandemic, at least a quarter of the US workforce was already working from home in some capacity. Those who have become remote workers since have faced and overcome many challenges.
Instead of that copier that freezes up for no reason, remote employees are dealing with their children being at home, supervising their education, and completing their regular household chores, among other challenges.
As a manager, you too may be facing new issues, along with the ones you traditionally grappled with when managing people at the office. Communicating and making sure everyone understands what needs to be done has gotten harder. Scheduling meetings, keeping track of work, all of these things have been made more complex.
If it’s one thing COVID 19 has done, it is to stimulate the human capacity for creativity and innovation in all areas. This includes the management of staff. Here are some tips that will help you motivate your team to focus and excel.
Have Regular Meetings
It was hard enough in an office setting to get critical information to everyone on a project team. Now you have to deal with differences in Internet speeds and quality of computer hardware at home.
Once this is overcome, the next step is communicating work goals in as clear a manner as possible and creating a feedback mechanism for workers to let you know what issues they are facing. Having regular meetings is the only way to do this in a remote setting.
It is recommended that there is at least one daily meeting with team members to check up on day-to-day progress with ongoing projects.
The pandemic has forced people to deal with a host of unprecedented situations. Understand as a manager, that everyone’s capacity to deal with the stress that this causes is different.
On an average workday at the office, an employee wouldn’t have to deal with a child’s homeschooling and a sick parent, who both now have access to them during the day because they are working from home. A little understanding from you will go a long way to helping them adjust and stay motivated.
Use A Time Tracking App
Far from being an attempt to spy on and micromanage employees, time tracking apps can ensure that they are compensated fairly for the work they do. It also helps them to make a clear delineation between work time and home time.
As a manager, you may be wondering which programs are the best to use. As usual, the Internet is a friend. The research will turn up many like this Time Track App, which will help you see which employees may be overworking, or underworking, and adjust workloads accordingly. It will also help you properly log and calculate overtime and time off.
Provide the Necessary Equipment
Not everyone has the equipment at home to do a proper job. Get whatever is needed to staff, within reason, to help them do their jobs. Assigning them work, without the proper tools, is setting those you manage up for failure.
Provide Training As Necessary
It’s hard to believe that video conferencing, a thing used so sporadically in the past, has become the go-to technology. Provide employees with the training and support they need to use these technologies efficiently.
This training should include learning the technical aspects of the software as well as skills to make better presentations over it.
Give Employees the Opportunity to Socialize
Remote work tends to erode the sense of community workers derive from going into the office and working with each other every day.
We are still getting the hang of virtual events, but they do go some way in maintaining team spirit. Virtual office lunches and birthday parties, as well as more creative events like bingo, can help employees feel a sense of normalcy in a situation that has overturned the norms they were accustomed to.
Have A Listening Ear
Employees are likely to be feeling greater confusion than usual. As a manager, you need to be available to listen to their concerns and as far as possible try to encourage and motivate. Once you understand what is expressed, do your best to resolve the issue, especially where it has the potential to affect their performance.
The COVID 19 pandemic has changed everything about the way we work and management is no different. Getting your employees through this period and beyond will require a more collaborative than top-down approach. Be the manager that inspires them through it.