As COVID-19 continues its spread across the country and non-essential businesses close their doors, business leaders are beginning to navigate the switch to remote work both for themselves and for their employees. The switch can be a big enough change, but these recent events give us a completely new version of working from home. Therefore, it’s important for managers to ensure their teams have the tools and information they need to successfully work remotely.
Some traditional means of communication go out of the window when switching to remote work. To help employees navigate this change, managers should discuss the various means of communications they plan to use. This helps set the expectations, and further the transparency in communications.
For example, they can discuss the kinds of issues that should be addressed in email versus a messaging app versus a meeting. Giving clear expectations for what type of communications should live where will take away from the need to respond to every message urgently, but still allow for efficiency in a remote work culture.
It’s also helpful to set clear specific parameters such as, “If I send you a Slack message my expectation is that I would hear back from you within X amount of time,” or “If I send you an email, it’s something I need a response to within 48 hours.”
When working from home, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel as though they have to prove they’re working by responding to every message and email immediately. When this happens, no one gets any actual work done because they’re more concerned about making sure their boss knows they’re working instead of focusing on important tasks.
Putting these specific communication parameters in place and explaining why you’ve created them is one way to squash these negative behaviors before they start. When you let go and trust your team to do their work, more often than not you’ll receive respect and hard work back from them in return. It’s about trusting in the people you’ve hired to do the job, to do the job well.
This is a whole new version of remote work for most companies. In today’s unprecedented times, there will be some days where you are thriving in your remote work culture, and other days when you’d give anything to get back to office life as you knew it before. Give yourself and everyone else plenty of grace to adjust to this new environment.
For your own mental health, it’s important to get up and get ready as if you’re heading into the office. It can be fun and easy at first to just throw your hair up and stay in pajamas all day, but eventually, it can lead to a funk. There is a behavioral component to getting ready for work that puts us in a certain mindset. It can become easy to start feeling lethargic, unmotivated and even depressed when the routine of getting up and showing up becomes diminished for an extended period of time.
Beyond your own self care, part of being an efficient manager during times like these includes showing your employees that you care about their mental health as well. Simply checking in on how they’re doing outside of their work load is an easy and effective way to show you care about them. Another simple way to support the mental health of your team is allowing them to use work software, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts, to meet virtually with friends and family members who they haven’t seen in a while.
As we forge ahead through these uncertain times, keeping these tips in mind will ensure teams are well-prepared to work remotely with ease. It’s important to remember that we’re all adjusting to this new version of working remotely, and taking care of our physical and mental health is what will help teams get through these times together.