Before coronavirus, just over 25% of Americans were working remotely most or all of the time. However, COVID-19 has rapidly pushed more companies to ask their employees to work from home. As a result, many managers are trying remote managing for the first time. Never managed employees from a distance? Well, here are some tips to help take care of your workers during this unprecedented time.
First things first, add daily check-ups into your schedule when you begin remote managing! To make the company run smoothly and successfully, send a daily message or, better yet, call every employee directly under you. If they work in teams or on one particular project – group them up for team calls. This also means that calls should be scheduled at one time every day, so you don’t waste all your time on daily meetings.
Of course, always try to make these meetings have a friendly and collaborative atmosphere where employees can ask questions and get advice. All meetings need to be this way, but its especially important if its the only face-to-face time employees will receive all day.
Communicate Via Different Platforms
Next, begin to incorporate new platforms that will help everyone work from home. While email can be extremely useful, it’s not the only way to communicate. Sooner rather than later, talk to your team about what software works best for everyone: Skype, Zoom, Discord, Slack, there are so many to choose from! Remember, these changes will be a challenge for your employees too, so they need to feel as comfortable as possible! Also, look into browser-based task management software, like Asana, that can keep everyone on track and on the same page. It makes remote managing a breeze!
After introducing new methods of communication, make sure to establish the social interaction rules right from the start, possibly discussing them on the first team call. Quick messaging shouldn’t be active at night and bothering employees. Tell the workers when they can and cannot use all those features. Let them know how they can reach out to others and you, and what hours are the best to video call.
Don’t Forget To Socialize
Think about how often you socialize in the office. While it obviously shouldn’t be all day, those little moments and occasional nonsense conversations are essential! And they shouldn’t end because of the coronavirus! Being stuck at home alone can be absolutely suffocating for some. So, set aside a minute or two every meeting to simply ask everyone how they’re feeling, if anyone has watched anything good lately, and so on. You could even try a remote pizza party or through-the-mail secret Santa gift exchange!
Video calls and great remote managing can improve working from home and give some emotional support to employees, but they might still need more help coping with coronavirus anxiety. Managers should know how to recognize stressful situations, listen to what the employees have to say about their job, even if it’s negative, and then show care and empathy towards them. Even a simple question like “How’s working remotely working out for you?” can start a good conversation and let the manager get valuable feedback. Most employees look up to managers for support during a breakdown or an unpleasant situation. Telling workers that everything will be alright and that the manager knows how to handle everything can help them calm down and get motivated to work again.
Finally, as a manager, make sure to stay updated on the latest news about coronavirus, so that you can disseminate that information to your team. Keep a level head and an open ear, and you’ll be fine!