Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have found themselves with a new routine. Many of us are no longer traveling to the office as the world tries to stay healthy. This means there are many people who aren’t familiar with working remotely and will need the help of their managers and supervisors to get used to this new routine. While working from home to some employees is ideal, there are some who prefer the social hustle and bustle of office life.
To many, there’s something assuring about the routine of going into an office and away from the distractions that are present at home. For some, time management, creating a designated working space, and other problems are big distractions to overcome when working remotely. If you find yourself traversing this new normal with your employees, here are some tips on how to make for a smoother transition for everyone involved.
One of the best things about working in an office is the access you normally have to your coworkers. This means communicating with them face-to-face on a regular basis and that alone makes communication between two parties easier. Without being able to see the facial features of the person you’re speaking with can make it hard to determine if they’re somehow irritated with your plan or maybe even delighted by whatever idea you’ve presented. Plus, it can be almost impossible to decipher tone in text, which can lead to confusion as well. This is where the beauty of video conferencing comes to our rescue.
Thank goodness we now have options like Zoom and Skype, which make video meetings possible. Plus, this allows you to interact with your employees similar to how you would if you were in an office. When you’re helping your employees settle into their new remote positions make sure you give them the list of programs you use to make working remotely much easier. This includes everything from programs that help you track your time like Toggl to teaching how to set up call forwarding of their office phones to their cell phones or landlines.
Learning how to communicate with your employees as everyone works from home can be tough because you don’t have access to them in person as you normally, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a constant struggle. There are many tools like voice over IP and instant messaging that make communicating and collaborating remotely much easier than it has been in the past. Phone calls are obviously still an option but with instant messaging and VoIP, you can have the option to save the messages as well if you need to refer to them in the future.
Time Management at Home
One of the biggest issues many seem to run into when working from home is having to avoid the many distractions that often pop up in our houses. It seems like a no-brainer if you see a load of laundry that could be folded to get it done when you have a minute, but these little tasks around the home add up, and before you know it you’re behind on work. If you feel like this might be the reason some of your employees are falling behind, take a moment to talk with them. As their manager, they’re looking to you for guidance. You want to make sure your communications with them are clear and effective and this is a perfect opportunity to give them some great tools that can help manage their time easier and ensure they understand your expectations.
Browser extensions like Stay Focused and Too Many Tabs are great for employees who might find themselves easily distracted by the different environment of working from home. Other software like Slack and Asana allow group communications that are helpful if you’re collaborating on projects with some of your employees. Whatever your goals for the team are, there are many tools and programs available to make working from home a breeze for both you and your employees.
A New Normal
While working from home might be a bump in the road for some employees who enjoy the social atmosphere of a busy office, as their manager, be sure to reassure them that your organization is doing everything it can to make the transition as easy as possible. Above everything else, learning to communicate effectively with your employees will give them a sense of calm and normalcy as other things in their everyday life might be in a bit of a tailspin. While we don’t have a specific date in site for when the world can return to its regular activities, it’s important to remind yourself and your employees this isn’t forever. Take advantage of the time to become familiar with new tools and technologies and share the information with your employees, as we all learn to navigate this new normal for the time being.
Photo credits: eOffice