One of our new realities in this topsy-turvy world of global crisis is the many businesses that have had to close their offices and work remotely.
The resultant explosion in the number of people working from their home environments brings with it many serious challenges for businesses. Fortunately however there is a lot of guidance available on how to maintain high levels of morale, loyalty and productivity amongst your work-from-home employees. For example, researchers at Harvard University have identified five main areas as key to achieving the best possible results from a remote working situation. Read on for some thoughts on them.
In this brave new world of COVID-19, many people are working from home. Even after there is a cure for the virus, this trend will likely continue. Researchers at Harvard University have come up with some good ways to ensure you get maximum productivity and loyalty from your employees working remotely.
- Both managers and staff miss face to face meetings – managers worry how effectively their people are working and employees miss the support and guidance they get from managers. Managers should introduce structure and discipline into their interactions with their staff – setting up a time each day (or whatever is needed) to connect to each other and, possibly, the team the employee is in. This can cover all the employee’s and team’s work requirements, bringing them up to date with events in the company. Not only does this improve productivity but it increases staff morale and loyalty.
- Access to information can become difficult between staff members – for example, a relatively new employee asks a staff member for information who initially ignores the request until the new staff person starts sending out more aggressive emails. Managers need to be aware of this type of conflict and focus on new employees to iron out any potential difficulties.
- Employees get lonely and can over time feel they’ve been cut adrift which is bad for their stress levels and can lead to a drop in productivity. If managers don’t have good listening skills and empathy, then they need to add these to their armoury and be on the lookout for loneliness manifesting in people who report to them. In the initial stages, it may pay to also have Human Resources contact employees working remotely.
- Home distractions. Working from home can lead to distractions of members of staff by spouses and family. The company needs to ensure that the employee has the required technology and IT security in his or her home. Having a separate office in their homes is also important.
- Staff need time to catch up with their colleagues’ personal lives and the manager should allow time for this when there are video calls. This will reinforce that employees belong to and are part of a team.
There is much to learn in terms of skills and keeping staff morale and productivity at high levels, when employees work from home.