COVID-19. It could end up being the single biggest cause of an uptake in flexible and remote working practices.
It’s been fabulous to hear from so many employers who are taking proactive steps to put in place proactive strategies for dealing with this new safety threat.
For many this means implementing flexible and remote work options – of which I am a huge fan. If you are looking at asking your employees to stay home, then I suggest you consider these 5 tips for managing remote staff:
- Have a written policy. Working remotely, especially from home, throws up a multitude of issues. As always it’s best to address them before a new arrangement starts to avoid conflict down the track. For example, the need for a dedicated work space, provision for employer inspections to manage safety risks, statements of responsibility for providing computers/ phones/ power and other tools.
More information about the questions to ask yourself when writing a policy can be found in this video here.
- Keep in touch. One of the most common reasons that remote work arrangements fail is an employer feeling like they don’t know what an employee is doing, and employees feeling disconnected and lonely. But managing a remote worker is not much different to managing the employee sitting in the office next to you with their door closed all day. Consider ways to keep connected and plan these times in advance. For example, daily meetings, or regular email reports regarding work completed or still in progress.
- Use technology. Closely linked to the need to keep in touch, it’s important to assess what technology is available to enable a remote employee to work productively, and to stay connected with the broader team. This might include cloud based systems, email, video conferencing, messaging tools like Slack/Teams/Whatsapp/Voxer. Ensure you have them and that everyone knows how to use them.
- Set clear expectations. This isn’t really a requirement just for staff working remotely. However it is an important reminder. Whenever you are managing staff – wherever located – it is important to make sure you have set clear expectations around work performance, and you monitor performance. Also – how long is this arrangement in place for? Is it permanent or a limited time? Who has the ability (and when) to make changes?
- Encourage employees to switch off. It is very easy when working remotely, especially from home, to feel “on” all the time. This is a recipe for disaster as employees will burn out and it could lead to workers compensation claims. So when setting expectations, encourage and assist your employees to set boundaries around work times.
If you would like help with a Working from Home Policy, or to brainstorm other ways to help your business survive, then book in for a strategy session.