This pandemic is a challenge unlike anything a business has experienced in a very long time. For employees this if the first time in their work lives they have worked remotely on a full-time basis. At home with a spouse, kids, the dogs and other dynamics.
Employees may feel that they are expected to perform their work in a remote setting just as well as they did before the pandemic. This is an impossible expectation. Employees need to hear from managers and supervisors with how to manage their day so they can feel secure in their jobs – while maintaining a sense of collaboration and teaming.
This pandemic hit fast – preparation was not what it should have been and with continuing changing circumstances, may help to save the business owner and help employees feel grounded about their work.
A remote work policy can help to guide employees as to what’s expected. With these processes in place, employees will see how to best accomplish the goal of the day with the help of a list of tasks. Employers must take a look at current policies to ensure they incorporate trust versus a big-brother monitoring language.
Policies should be written as a guide for the employee to feel trusted to do their job. Without guidance, engagement may drop or other outcomes arise in this ever-changing legal landscape. Clear policies are best, and employers must be ready and willing to adjust, anticipate, and adapt to change quickly.
Even with policies in place, questions will arise: is teleworking an option for every position? Does the policy go out of effect once the pandemic is over? What is the procedure to ask questions or get IT help? What is the procedure for an employee who contracts an illness while working remotely?
Be sure the remote work policy has clear-cut procedures and answers to basic questions. Set up daily, brief check-ins with staff, and allow for a platform for discussion around these new policies.
Offering words of encouragement to employees during this crisis sends the right message. When an employee vents due to cabin fever or not feeling acclimated, or tells you about their crazy day at home, just listen. Ask them about their weekend, how they’re doing at home; spend a few moments just talking about anything but work.
Supporting staff will give them a sense of focus and make them feel secure. This is what they need to hear while they are somewhat disconnected from you, co-workers, and their normal, daily routine. Whether realized or not, employees look to their leaders for support and affirmation, and require it.