The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many businesses operate. Even business owners and managers who once disparaged telecommuting have come to recognize its usefulness in the face of this unprecedented crisis. In order to slow the spread of the virus and keep employees safe, any business that can allow team members to work from home should allow team members to work from home. However, for people who have grown accustomed to traditional workplaces, telecommuting can be a bit of an adjustment. So, if any members of your workforce have experienced productivity or efficiency issues since they’ve started working remotely, the following pointers may prove helpful.
Provide Daily Itinerary
While some people are adept at creating their own structure, some of us work better in an externally structured environment. In the absence of set work hours and clear-cut deadlines, workdays can feel somewhat vaguely-defined and aimless. To ensure that your team members have a clear picture of what’s expected of them, provide daily itinerary to anyone who requires it. This will give them a solid idea of what tasks they’re expected to complete and the general timeline in which to complete them. Additionally, make it clear that anyone who has questions, comments or concerns regarding their personal itinerary is welcome to contact you.
As times goes on and employees grow more accustomed to working remotely, daily itinerary may become unnecessary. However, to prevent any of your team members from falling out of step, you may want to consider providing itinerary on a weekly or monthly basis. To provide additional structure, consider utilizing customizable workflows and other automated workflow management solutions.
Frequently Check in with Team Members
People who have trouble creating their own structure are liable to feel somewhat adrift without regular direction and communication from their boss(es). Furthermore, without check-ins, it can be difficult to determine if projects are proceeding according to plan. With this in mind, make a point of touching base with all of your team members at least once a week, if not daily. This will ensure that you’re able to receive timely progress updates and nip misunderstandings and miscommunications in the bud.
If your workforce is so large that checking in with each member individually isn’t feasible, take care to remain in regular communication with key employees and have them relay your directions to any team members they oversee. In addition to individual check-ins, make sure to organize virtual meetings and group chats on a consistent basis.
Make Sure There Are Clear Channels of Communication
When occupying the same office space, it’s fairly easy to get a hold of team members on a moment’s notice. However, when the team is scattered, instant communication may prove slightly more difficult. That being the case, make sure there are clear channels of communication between yourself, team leaders and other employees. During work hours, each employee should be immediately reachable, so make sure everyone’s contact information is up to date.
While it’s important to maintain clear channels of communication, it’s equally important to respect your employees’ personal time. Unless you’re dealing with an emergency, abstain from contacting your team members outside of work hours. Structure is important in any job, even those done remotely. By reaching out to employees during their personal time, you run the risk of blurring the lines between work hours and downtime. We’re living through one of the most stressful periods in modern history, and if your employees feel as if they’re never truly clocked out, this is likely to compound any other stress they’re currently dealing with.
To say that the continued threat of COVID-19 has had an impact on the business world would be an understatement. In the interest of curbing the spread and protecting their workforces, many companies have opted to allow team members to work remotely. Of course, if your entire professional life has consisted of reporting to an office at a certain time and going home at a certain time, telecommuting is liable to take some getting used to. To help ensure that your employees are able to do their jobs effectively and efficiently from the comfort of home, put the previously discussed measures to good use.