While governments are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, working remotely, will be the new normal for tens of thousands of office workers across Canada, the US and around the world. In short, this means, many office-based employees are now predominantly, if not 100% will be working remotely for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will therefore, be up to the companies – and in particular, their HR departments – to ensure that employees feel supported through this unprecedented situation. And, while the transition of working remotely, might be easy for some (especially those who may have been working from home, pre-COVID-19) employees – for others, it can be particularly daunting.
Here are 5 steps, business leaders and their HR teams can use to ensure the effectiveness of their remote workforce:
1.Be open to flexible work policies: Employee value flexible work schedules. Some of them may have their children at home and are balancing helping their kids with online learning while also working. If employees have the flexibility to take a reasonable amount of time to look after their kids, when it’s convenient, could mean that your employees will be happier, less stressed and more productive.
Resist the urge to install keystroke tracking devices on the laptop of employees. This will only create mistrust and resentment from your workforce. Instead deploy a flexible online timesheet that employees can use to input their time and request time-off. And, if an employee is not able to start promptly at 9:00am, because of some unforeseen circumstances at home show some empathy. The manager and the employee, can perhaps arrange another day when the employee can make up the time.
2.Figure out the best way to boost productivity for employees: Sometimes daily calls and emails while good, might not always work. Change it up, by encouraging employees to look up some free online learning courses. For example, LinkedIn, has a list of online courses designed to boost productivity while working from home.
3.Establish regular manager check-ins: The daily call-ins, could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls, or a team call to instill collaborative team effort. Make sure that the calls are regular and predictable, and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.
4. Create Social Interaction Channels: As a species, we are social beings and enjoy fellow human interaction. Managers, should therefore, structure ways, for employees to interact socially on a variety of topics. In other words, ‘water-cooler’ type of conversations. An example, might be to devote some time at the beginning of team calls to discuss non work-related items (e.g., ‘How was your weekend’? And, ‘are you watching any new shows on Netflix’?
5. Share wellness tips, offer encouragement and emotional support: Encourage employees to take their full lunch break and perhaps go outside for a walk. Some employees may not take a lunch break, fearful of what their manager might think.
In the wake of Covid-19, many employees have gone from working in an office to being 100% remote-and that, in and of itself, could raise employees’ anxieties and concerns. Managers should offer encouragement during one and one or team chats to employees. With remote workers not getting any face-to-face communication with their teams, mental health wellness becomes even more important.
COVID-19 is arguably one of the biggest changes, the modern world of work has had to navigate through so, this has been a challenge for many business leaders and their HR teams across the world.
To learn more about ATS you can register for one of our bi-monthly webinars. To download a demo of our work from home time and attendance application, go to our website. And, to reach us by phone call; 866.294.2467.
You might also like: