Prior to the pandemic that has hit not only your place and mine but realistically speaking, the whole world, quite a number of organizations have already started implementing virtual meetings. Perhaps due to time constraint and different physical locations of each of the team members, but still needed to attend the meeting, a few applications were built to cater to the differences.
What more with our current time where it is no longer an option, but more of a safety and security measure that needs to be implemented as a moving forward action or in layman terms, a ‘life goes on’ kind of situation.
With that being said, having meetings virtually is an aspect that has converted into a basic necessity for many companies to survive in this present moment. However, as reality kicks in, it has been proven by quite a number that it definitely is not as simple as how we expect it to be, true what they say, easier said than done.
Not left with much option, instead of sitting down pointing fingers to one another with what’s happening, let’s run through tips on how to efficiently manage employees working from home, together.
1. Clear and Concise Communication
The core solution to any problem, truth be told, would have to be communication. Try to think of just one problem that you wish you could turn back time so that it could have been resolved by just communicating.
Same goes with majority issues, whereby most misunderstandings were caused by lack of communication. True, we can say it was due to not having chemistry anymore, or in this current time especially, financial issues, which if we were to put in a little bit of an effort, just a tiny bit, probably though not 100% resolved, but at the very least, mutual understanding could have been achieved, which would lead to an easier manner to handle the situation.
Hence, same goes with this current topic, whereby the key to efficiently manage staffs who are working remotely would definitely have to be by communicating, on a regular basis and efficiently. What makes an employee perform better than another, would predominantly be related to the background they each have, as well as the challenges faced by each one.
So, the main reason communication is important in this particular scope would be so that we are able to sort of grasp where the employees stand with the current situation they would have to deal with at home while trying to juggle the work-life balance, so they say.
Hence, by engaging regularly, perhaps by having a daily or at the most weekly check-ins, which definitely would be awkward at first, but as time pass-by would be something they look forward to, for they would feel that they are cared for, not just in terms of career wise, but also as a person behind the screens.
Once they are aware that the organization are concerned of their well-being, they would be comfortable enough to open up if not much, even a little, slowly but surely, with the things that are bothering them, and both the employee and the supervisor are able to take it from there, which would be a win-win situation, as compared to just being kept in the dark and in an ongoing circle of playing the guessing game.
Once the personal connection has been instilled, indirectly remote employees will also share how they are currently doing professionally, which would be a perfect example of killing 2 birds with 1 stone, but in a humane manner. By being able to track their progress professionally, planning can be done in a more thorough and realistic manner, on what tasks suits who more.
2. Set Clear Expectations Early
Once regular communication has been instilled, further steps can be taken to ensure all is at par and as expected. It is highly recommended to set clear expectations in the early stage so that all parties know what has to be done to reach the expected goals.
At the same time, by having this set at an early stage, it will also assist employees in their direction, as it is widely known, working from home can either cause a person to be more productive, or astray due to the surroundings each person is facing on a daily basis.
In the situation where an employee has lost track of the direction of the expectation, due to the regular communication, other team members or even the supervisor can assist in getting him/her back on track.
As a worst-case scenario, if that is unable to happen, teamwork is indeed the key solution to this, where segregation of tasks and duties will take place between the rest of the team members to achieve the vision and mission of the organization. After all, together we stand, divided we fall.
3. Treat All Employees Differently
This point cannot be stressed enough. This is absolutely vital. As yet another human being, we have our own unique share of both the glorious as well as downfall days. Many theories have been introduced clearly stating the hierarchy of needs of a person, such as the ever-famous Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Herzberg two factor theory, or even the McClelland.
Hence, by clearly identifying the background as well as understanding the character of each of the employee, it will help in identifying the most suitable method to approach them, as well as what drives them to their motivation.
In a scenario where an employee is influenced by recognition which will boost their self-esteem, then the best way to show an employee that their work is indeed value adding to the organization’s vision and mission is to celebrate success and increase their recognition. By doing so, we will be able to see how the employee will strive to do even better as their motivation needs is indeed fulfilled.
On another hand, if the employee is the low-key type who prefers their work to be kept discreet and for congratulations to be sent through a one-to-one kind of way, then indeed the best way to go about with this employee would be for it to be of a more personal touch and not make it into a scene, as they would call it.
There have been many cases where the supervisor was not able to fully understand the character of the employee and chose the wrong method in approaching, and the outcome was not only did the staff member did not perform, it somehow created a blockage between the staff member with the supervisor as they feel as if they are not being understood and taken lightly.
4. Trust Your Employees
Trust is something that has to be earned, and definitely not broken. Same goes with working from home. True, by being separated physically, supervisors who are so used to checking their employees from time to time might find it tough with this current arrangement. But trust me when I say, now is really not the best time to micromanage, indeed, resist the urge to do so.
True, they have the tendency to lose track and not be up to par, which is why, it all goes back to communicating on a regular basis. What needs to be done in this current time would be to focus on outputs not processes. Now is indeed the time to learn to let go, definitely not entirely, but the main focus would be to stay focused on the goals and not activities.
The best way to not be stressed out about this as long as the output is achieved, it is fine. Do not overthink, and stay focused on the goals, not activities. Once this is achieved, and employees understand that they are indeed trusted in a way that they are comfortable with, most of the time, it will likely not be abused.
As a matter of fact, they will value the trust that has been given to them, and will put their hearts in completing their task. True enough, some will say that only happens in an ideal situation. Perhaps it does, but as a default first step, let’s all focus in trusting employees that they will give their best in achieving the goals of the team. Whatever happens next can be dealt with accordingly that best suits the situation.
Point of fact, there are plenty more, but these I believe are truly crucial points in ensuring all is handled smoothly. After-all, happy employees make happy customer. Indeed, at the end of the day, we are all in this as one.