Although it is already the fall of 2021, many companies still have employees working from home or have decided on a model to work from home indefinitely. While technology is evolving and helping to make the transition to work from home relatively straightforward, ensuring employees can be champions and highly productive is essential.
Like in the traditional office setting, there can be some attractive time busters working from home to include family and other comforts of home. There is laundry, a movie to watch, a workout in the middle of the day, dinner to be cooked, errands to run, and of course, a lovely, cozy-looking bed in the next room. Employees have had to adjust to a new way of blending work and life, and so have employers.
Here are a few ways to help ensure you have high performing and productive employees working from home:
1. Start every workday with a mandatory morning team meeting
To make sure everyone is up and ready to conquer the day together, schedule a brief camera-on video morning team meeting at the same time every single day. It sounds tedious; however, managers and employees are confirming it is effective. Use the time to:
1) assess the well-being and mental wellness of your team;
2) receive updates on milestones accomplished;
3) gain insights on what is working well;
4) identify challenges and agree on solutions; and
5) answer questions.
Before saying no to this suggestion, test this process with your work from home team and set the tone for a positive and productive workday.
2. Offer flexible work hours, set priorities, and a schedule
Since many employees no longer have to commute more than 20 steps to work, they may start their day later than usual. Ensuring employees maintain a flexible yet regular work schedule can be essential to accomplishing the work timely. For example, some employers provide greater flexibility related to work hours to support the blending of work and personal life. The workday can begin as early as 6:00 a.m. and end as late as 8:00 p.m. with a break in work hours during this timeframe. Another option is to provide a 40-hour workweek in four days instead of five.
Working from home can be nice, but sometimes it feels like the workday never ends. Some feel as though they must be working around the clock since they are at home. Setting a defined schedule allows employees to work more efficiently and feel like they can turn the work clock off at a reasonable time. Executives and managers need to make sure they do this too. If they send emails throughout the night and even on weekends, their employees may feel the need to drop everything and respond immediately.
Set a schedule, boundaries, and priorities upfront so everyone is on the same page, even when they are miles apart.
3. You have one more video meeting!
New technology like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom makes it easy to communicate with your team members. It is almost as if they are in the room next to you. Video chat services allow you to be productive in real-time and respond faster instead of waiting hours to receive an email.
These technologies also provide leaders with visuals of individuals or the team to assess their well-being and mental wellness.
4. There is an app for that.
There are so many different kinds of software available to employers. Whether project management, payroll reporting, issue tracking, consulting, or content creation, a platform is available to keep you and your team on track, organized, and up to date.
With a larger than ever population working from home, we have become 100% dependent on technology as a tool to engage with our teams. However, the technology needs are shifting to not only be for transactional purposes.
Managers and employees now need digital tools when they work from home or in the office to help them to be champions and achieve their work milestones. For example, managers and employees need a secure digital workspace to centralize and gain easy access to resources to perform their work. These may include managing documents and performance, engaging in discussions, communicating and collaborating on projects and tasks, accessing the company calendar and events, tracking and managing work records, receiving education and training, assessing competencies, and more. Digital tools also help a project manager to determine where individuals or teams are with projects and timelines. Have you heard about the HR Anew Toolbox™? Help your employees or groups ramp up and maximize knowledge and productivity using technology working in the office or remotely. Package your company’s offline and online knowledge resources into a value add, easy to find, and easy-to-use portal for managers, employees, clients, and strategic alliances.
Employers, organizations, groups, and students are using the HR Anew Toolbox™ portal. Customized to your entity’s specific needs, it can be everything to get to your most important purpose accomplished – client success – team success – business success.
During these turbulent and challenging times in our lives and the world, a critical tool is to communicate with employees frequently and with transparency. With a large part of the population working from home, there is significant isolation and an opportunity for tremendous stress, anxiety, and fear. Although no human can predict our future or what will happen tomorrow, employees need confidence that in COVID and a “permanent white water” world, leadership is genuinely concerned about the team’s well-being.
Take time to share daily inspiration and encouragement, talk about self-care, mental wellness, and create opportunities to ensure connections with peers. Perhaps employees who have had the
COVID virus can voluntarily put their names on a confidential list and be available to support other peers when needed.
Over communicating is essential to building trust and respect with others. Have three small children running around the house during the workday? Talk with your manager and let them know that you may need to work slightly different hours to get the work done. Over communicating is never a bad thing and can be highly beneficial in the long run.
In summary, all in all, everyone is still trying to navigate our new world, especially as more offices decide to close their traditional doors and move forward with their employees working from home.
HR Anew helps employers and organizations solve their business problems. Connect with us when you want new ideas and solutions to optimize digital resources, strategy and training in the areas of diversity, equity, equality, inclusion, and belonging; manager and employee education and training, employee relations and workplace investigations, and human resource advisory services. Request a meeting at https://hranewtoolbox.com/request-a-meeting/ today to learn more!
Blog by Deborah Stallings, President and Chief People Officer at HR Anew.