The coronavirus has disrupted the daily lives of people across the world and businesses are no exception. Allowing employees to work remotely from their home has been always a very personal decision for business owners. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to ask employees to work from home and quarantine themselves with little or no preparation at all.
Over the past few weeks, the world has been introduced to a new trend of remote working and it has become a sudden reality. A futuristic workplace is taking shape where people will have the flexibility to work remotely with teammates around the world. This flexible work environment has been in vogue and will grow significantly over the next decade. The luxury workplace opposite Ecospace, New Town, boasts of being a future-friendly business destination where employees enjoy enough scope to work in a flexible environment and feel comfortable.
What are the challenges?
Working remotely from home seems like fun. With the increasing expectation of greater flexibility, employees often ask to work from home regularly. The concept allows them to avoid daily commutes, reduce distractions, and increase work-life balance.
However, working this way for a long-term basis and conducting meetings and managing teams through video conference only is not easy. Business owners are finding it difficult to lead their teams remotely and facing some tough decisions while maintaining businesses continuity during social distancing. To begin with, when a team is separated or disparate, some employees find it difficult to reach their potential for the lack of focus, productivity, and motivation.Communication lags, low employee engagement, risk of projects getting delayed – these are some of the problems managers face that make their jobs even more difficult. Under quarantine, it’s a prolonged and uncertain phase when pressurized conditions, heightened uncertainty,and an overall sense of dislocation are serious challenges for managing a team. Even after the phase is over, workplaces are expected to evolve and adapt digital transformation that will continue to revolutionize how people will stay connected and run the business smoothly.
The win-win approach:
The pivot to expanding the remote workforce needs a shift in mindset along with modern technology tools which will further help manage a team effectively during social distancing. Adapting a ‘win-win approach’ will benefit both the employers and employees positively and ensure job satisfaction, engagement and retention.
1. Focus on end-results:
At the office, everyone works under the same conditions. For the quarantine period, adapting flexibility and allowing team members to accomplish their responsibilities on their terms would benefit both managers and employees. The focus should be on achieving goals and end results instead of the process.
2. Communicate effectively:
Weekly one-on-one interactions with each employee, action reviews, and video calls will boost the team’s morale and increase employee engagement. Communicate clearly what is expected from them, define success criteria and empower the team to understand what they have to accomplish.
3. Offer support:
Delegate responsibility and allocate peer coaches who can mutually support each other. Invest in quality collaboration apps to make sure everyone has access to the information they need. Ask if they need any additional support. Initiate short learning sessions on a single topic in 5 to 10-minute segments.
4. Have solid reports:
An end-of-day short list of the tasks accomplished from each employee, updated status of projects and deliverable can be helpful to remain informed on everyone’s progress. Document big tasks completed for the week, key victories, and tasks for the following week using spreadsheets, task manager and emails. Encourage daily check-in and check-outs to maintain the routine as in office.
5. Gauge stress level:
Arrange virtual video calls as a team at least once in a week to stave off the feelings of isolation. Check on stress levels and the emotional well being of the team. Periodically measure the engagement level of your employees to understand if there is any problem they are dealing with. As a leader, set the example by staying calm and motivated.