COVID changed how we work. Today, a high percentage of Americans are working remotely or in hybrid office/home positions. Most polls show that we love our new remote lives, and productivity has increased overall. We also save a lot of time and money on commuting. So, for all these reasons, remote work is here to stay. But where does that leave managers who are struggling to change their style and culture to adapt to this new normal? We have tips for making new hires feel welcome remotely and creating a comfortable work environment even when that work occurs at home.
Five Ways to Manage a Remote Team
1. Be Empathetic
Lead your teams with empathy. This requires an understanding that working from home is different than working in an office. Managers must understand that occasional breaks to walk the dog or let a plumber into the house are necessary. Some employees may be able to work into the evening and need a few hours in the afternoon to handle responsibilities for their kids. Unless this somehow impinges on the job itself, managers must allow for some flexibility when handling their staff.
2. Connect Face-to-Face Via Video
Make time to connect face to face via video conferencing. It’s a good idea to turn on videoconferencing during meetings so everyone can see each other. Seeing your coworkers, even through a screen, is a way to improve team camaraderie. Managers should make every effort to use videoconferencing to improve team connections. During these meetings, try to lighten up and understand if there are things going on in the background. After all, it is the employee’s home.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Overcommunicate, don’t under-communicate. This shouldn’t be micromanaging, but you should check in frequently to see how the employee is doing. It’s okay to reiterate tasks that help complete projects so that the entire team is up-to-date and on the same page. Even small changes can help workers who are not used to staying remote and keep them from feeling disconnected.
4. Use Technology to Stay in Touch
Use technology tools to stay in touch. Instant messaging is a great way to check-in, chat, and have the same immediacy of passing someone in the hallway. You can also use project management software so that disparate teams have one place to put everything related to the work they’re doing. Microsoft Teams, Basecamp, Trello, or Jira, are all easy to use and effective tools.
5. Encourage Breaks
Encourage natural breaks all day long. When you work from home, it’s easy to get up, go to work, and suddenly it’s lunchtime, and you haven’t even stood up from your computer. It happens! Managers can encourage breaks and allow time so that people don’t feel they have to be glued to their computers all day and all night.
It’s so easy to take the constant connections of an office environment for granted. It may take a little more effort for a manager and his or her team to adjust to the new normal of remote work. With a little bit of effort and even more understanding and flexibility, managers can easily keep their employees engaged, happy, and productive.
We Can Help You With Your Remote Employees
ADD STAFF helps managers find top-notch employees to meet corporate productivity goals. Talk with our team today to find out how we can reach your hiring goals.