Even before COVID-19 swept like a tidal wave over the global landscape, more and more companies were setting up their employees to work remotely when possible. But the pandemic crisis fast-forwarded this process, as in many cases, businesses went remote literally overnight.
How do you adjust – and help your employees to do the same, especially as everyone is reeling and experiencing an entirely new sense of “normalcy” in their lives?
As reported by Harvard Business Review, there are research-proven steps you can take to transition employees into working remotely effectively. They include:
Offer emotional support.
Given the level of fear and anxiety that coronavirus has provoked, this is first and foremost right now. In worst-case scenarios, people are experiencing the physical trauma of COVID-19 in their own households or families. Or, they may be dealing with financial or child or eldercare challenges. At the very least, there’s a universal underlying sense of apprehension and uncertainty that will remain until the crisis passes.
- Acknowledge the stress. Employees look to their managers for cues regarding how to react and deal with crisis situations. So, listen and empathize. Then provide affirmation of your support and your confidence in your team. The message is simple and powerful: “This is really tough, but I know we can get through it together.”
Check in regularly.
Set a regular time to check in with your remote employees. If you’re not sure what that should be, start with setting a time once a day for a group call. This will not only be a good forum for dialogue and progress on work-related tasks, but it also will give people some much-needed structure in their daily schedule.
- Let your employees know the best way and times to reach you during the workday.
- Allow for some socializing. At the beginning of a call or videoconference, let participants talk for a few minutes about what’s new and how things are going in their lives, just as they would if gathered in the breakroom or around the water cooler. Then, you can direct the conversation back to business.
Provide communication technology options.
Go beyond email and texting. Use video conferencing and other options so team members can experience the same visual cues and experiences they would have if they were face to face. It’s also more personal than written or audio-only conversations, especially when topics are complex or sensitive.
- Offer mobile-enhanced messaging functionality. For instance, Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams can be used for both simple, informal conversations and more detailed or time-sensitive interactions. Be sure to check with your IT team to ensure the appropriate level of data security for any of these tools.
It’s true. The world has changed virtually overnight. But that doesn’t mean your commitment to your employees and their well-being has to. They can’t come to work right now, and neither can you. But you can all still feel that ever-important sense of teamwork and togetherness.
Reach Out to Search Wizards
For additional resources on leading your remote team, read our related post or contact Search Wizards today. Stay safe and healthy and remember: we’re all #InThisTogether.