COVID-19 might have brought about a drastic digital transformation in the way businesses work and function. These days, needless to say, all businesses have taken a respite in working from home if their nature of the business allows.
Businesses that already had work from home facilities are finding it easier to transition than the ones who did not. But times are challenging for both with regards to the fear, duration of working from home and the uncertainty surrounding it.
The goal is to stay optimistic. By now we all know the preventive measures that need to be taken to save our bodies. And hopefully, people are following them as well. Now, is the time to give some attention to our minds as well.
A busy and productive schedule is most probably the best way to keep the mind healthy. We have already written about and launched courses on how to help employees be effective that are working from home, how can you as an employer take care of the health and safety of the employees working remotely and on the general well-being of the employees.
In this article, we will talk about how you can ensure that your team stays productive and effective. Productive work-life can contribute to good psychological health and also fares the business well during these hard economic times.
1. Do not make them feel stranded
Employers have a one to one conversation with the team daily, you do not have to talk to everyone, just the team leaders and project managers. Send out a mail, appreciate their work or just say hi. Respond to the mails, send them feedback and approval as soon as you can. You can try to be more positive than usual and be critical only if necessary. We all deserve some leeway during such times.
When employees feel that their work is being acknowledged and appreciated, they happen to feel better and be more productive. And it times of social distancing, emotional closeness if of utmost importance.
2. Brush up communication skills
Communication always has been the key, we all know, but it is more so during these times. Team leaders and project managers should learn to be crisp, precise and very objective with your team when it comes to sharing tasks or while communicating anything pertaining to work.
Always share MOM over the email to everyone after a video conference. Include what is required from each individual elaborately along with the deadline. Having details written out makes it easier for reference, avoids misunderstanding and miscommunication.
3. Do not micro-manage
You have to understand that you cannot expect the same kind of outcome as it was a few weeks ago, with your force on the floor. Even if you had your entire team working from home before this virus hit, you should not expect everything to be similar. It is only a matter of common sense for you to consider the effect of fear and anxiety on people and therefore on their productivity.
To handle this you can send in positive and encouraging feedback as mentioned in the second point. Relax your deadlines a bit. Tell your employees it is okay if the pets and kids do not stay quiet during a call. Most importantly focus on the outcomes rather than the process. Do not ask for reports or call them every two hours. It is not only impractical but also rude and naive.
4. Respect personal space
Yes, this is required along with social distancing. Remote teams, for obvious reasons, need a good set of boundaries to draw a line between their work and personal life. As mentioned in point number 3 you should give them leeway realising that working from home is quite different from working at the office. For instance, if your remote team doesn’t pick up at a certain time, wait for them to call back. It is a good practice to do most of the communication over emails or texts.
Furthermore, the teammates in general cases would be working from different time zones. Notifications or chat messages or emails most certainly can ruin someone’s sleep, disturb their family time, or wake the kids up. It is important that you discuss and decide work schedules with your remote team. With this, you are showing that you respect their time and care for their well-being.
5. Train and support your management
This sudden change in the operations of management might be hard on your team leaders and project managers. They might experience a surge in anxiety about disruptions to the workflow that they will be accountable for. Some may feel they can be good coaches only when they can be physically present, being doubtful that they can engage with other remote team members effectively. Some managers do not trust workers they can not see.
But now all of them will have to adapt to remote working and fast.
They need your support, both practically and emotionally. Be affirming about the situation and make them understand the altered deadlines, encourage them. Know that your managers always need to know you have their back.
Train them with actionable insights as to how they can lead a remote working team effectively.
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