Remote work has officially taken the business world by storm. Already a growing trend in many industries, recent events have made remote work more common than ever. In many states it’s now required!
That includes Qualigence – for the first time in over 20 years of business, we recently gave all our team members the ability to work from home. It’s certainly been an adjustment and we’re still adapting, but thankfully we’ve learned a few lessons from a few flexible working arrangements over the years.
If you’ve just transitioned to remote work and are wondering how to manage it, we’ve got you covered. Here are our do’s and don’ts for remote work success:
DO Establish Ground Rules
Your first priority with remote teams is to establish some ground rules regarding schedules, workflow, and communication. Let teams know when they will be expected to work or if flexible schedules are possible.
Maybe you’re mandating ordinary 8-5 schedules, or maybe a few core hours such as 10-3 are mandatory while the other hours are flexible. Whatever you decide, just make sure everyone is on the same page and teams can still collaborate.
Clarify what platforms are to be used for communication (email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.). It may be helpful to lay down a reporting schedule. For example, maybe you have a virtual huddle every morning to find out what everyone’s working on and assist where necessary.
DON’T Be Too Strict
For many leaders, one of the hardest parts of remote work is a perceived lack of control. It’s easy to feel like everything is going to fall apart or people will start slacking off when they’re not in the office.
Ground rules are important but consider loosening up where possible and if your business model allows for it. If an employee wants to work a few hours later or earlier than everyone else, give it a shot. If someone wants to take an hour in the middle of the day to go for a walk to clear their head, see if you can allow that.
This is a stressful time for everyone. Granting your people some flexibility can really help them feel more comfortable – which in turn allows for more productivity. At the end of the day, if your people are getting quality work done and your business supports it, it shouldn’t matter so much where or when they are working.
DO Trust Employees
One of the best things you can do for your teams in any situation is freely give them your trust. Whether you’re a business leader or HR, people feel valued and empowered when they have your trust. You need to trust that teams will be responsible and do their work.
If you trusted someone enough to hire them in the first place, trust that they will continue to do solid work from home when necessary.
DON’T Worry About Employees Neglecting Their Work
If someone starts slacking off, everyone will know very soon. Project management platforms and other remote work tools make it a breeze to track employee’s progress and results. Daily check-ins also allow us to keep tabs on who’s working on what.
Any reasonable employee will understand that they must keep delivering results, just like on any other workday. They’re adults, they recognize that work is important. Don’t worry about anyone neglecting their work until you have reason to believe otherwise!
Like a high performing sports team, let the team encourage and hold each other accountable. When work is getting done, encourage the team to address the issue before you need to get involved as a leader.
DO Stay in Regular Contact
Let’s face it…remote work can get a little lonely! Even introverts can feel isolated when they’re stuck at home day after day. Stay in contact through chat, phone calls and video conferences. Ask how people are doing, what you can do to help out, etc.
Don’t forget the water cooler conversations, either. Staying in contact helps us collaborate and coordinate, but it’s also important for letting off some steam. It helps our teams feel connected and like true teams…not just a group of individuals working on their laptops.
DON’T Breathe Down Anyone’s Neck
Stress, anxiety and uncertainty are riding high. Leaders who are feeling on edge can be tempted to go overboard checking in on team members. Unfortunately, that just makes the situation worse.
Check in regularly, but make sure to give employees space and time to focus on their tasks. We all need some peace and quiet to be productive…and your employee may already be dealing with some unruly children in the background!
Stay Calm, Stay Focused, and Let’s Put in Some Great Work
Remote work doesn’t have to be all that different from another day in the office. With a little planning and adjustment, you’ll be back in business no problem.
If you’re looking for more advice or suggestions on how to keep your team productive right now, reach out to us today. Our talent experts are standing by to help you navigate change and stay on top of the game.