In the age of working from home that has sent employees from all over the world to their homes to work, companies have had to step up to the plate to navigate this “new normal” that does not appear to be going away anytime in the foreseeable future. Not only are employees struggling to get into the groove of working from home, but company leaders have also had to take a crash course in making sure the business runs like a well-oiled machine while employees work remotely.
Managing your employees as they work from home can be a challenge, but there are ways in which you can hold your team together and ensure they are just as productive as when you work with them face-to-face in the workplace. Read on to learn more about how you can be a better remote boss and carry your work team through to the finish line!
Communicate with Your Employees Regularly
Help your employees adjust to working from home by communicating with them often. When you are used to reporting to the office every day and having face-to-face meetings with co-workers and your boss, working from home can feel isolating. In a work-from-home environment, employees can start to feel like they aren’t as connected to those they work with as they are when they get to see their teammates each day.
Schedule regular phone calls and zoom conferences with your employees so you can share important information with them and let them know how the company is doing. During these meetings, you can also go over projects and deadlines and get a sense of how your employees are handling their workloads.
Lend a Compassionate Ear
If your employees have never worked from home before, this “new normal” could cause feelings of frustration and anxiety for them, especially if there seems to be no end in sight to the working from home structure. While some employees may enjoy the opportunity to work from home, others may not, and so you should provide them with the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with you.
As a boss, you should use words of encouragement and be straightforward with your employees. Be sure to praise good work and offer coaching as necessary when one of your employees is struggling.
Let’s face it, as the boss, when you are working from home you are not as approachable as when your office is located just down the hallway from those who you supervise. In the working from home age, you need to be able to adapt so that your employees can reach you when they have a question or concern. Work can be that much more confusing when you do not have your peers or your boss readily available for questions.
Let your employees know when your office hours are so that they can reach you during the day for help or to answer questions about their work assignments. Keep your cell phone handy and your email open, so that you will know instantly when your employees are trying to reach you. It is also a good idea to allocate time during the evening so that employees who work later hours can also reach you.
Be sure to let your employees know ahead of time if you will be tied up in conference calls, appointments, or virtual meetings, or are taking the day off, so they can plan their day accordingly.
Navigating through a home workday can be difficult, given that each employee’s home life is different. On top of working from home, some employees may also be trying to help kids with at-home learning, or maybe competing for desk space with a spouse or significant other who is also working from home.
Work with each of your employees to come up with a work schedule that satisfies the needs of the business as well as their own personal situation. Instead of adhering to the traditional 9 am-5 pm routine, see if an early morning or late night schedule works best for them. Unless your employees work directly with customers or other employees, does it really matter if the work gets completed at 5 am or 11 pm? Being flexible will alleviate stress for both yourself and your employees.
Make the Remote Workplace Fun and Inviting
Just because you are working from home does not mean you need to give up on all of the fun team-building activities you used to enjoy while working at the office. You just need to be creative and come up with ways to engage with your team remotely.
Consider hosting video-conferencing lunch hours or group meetings where employees can just get together with you and explore ideas and enjoy some light chit-chat. You could also come up with remote games and competitions and mail prizes out to the winner. Remote team-building events will help cut back on the isolation your employees might be feeling and will give them something to smile about.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
As a boss, you may very well be as concerned for the future of your job and the business as your employees are, but it is important to keep your interactions with your team members positive. This is not to say that you should lie to your employees and tell them that the future of the company is secure if you do not know this to be the case, but you should highlight all of the positive strides forward and what your company is doing to adapt to a work from home environment; companies can still be very successful even if employees do not report to an actual workplace each day.
Employees look to their boss for reassurance during times of uncertainty, and they want to know that their boss is working in their best interests. While not all news is going to be good, you can keep the morale up by not bad-mouthing the company or scare your employees into looking for a new job prematurely.
Being a boss in a work from home environment is an interesting experience that can be rewarding and successful if you are able to adapt quickly and keep your employees motivated to do their jobs. Use these tips to be a better remote boss and wake up each morning ready to rise to the challenge and ensure your employees and company are successful!
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.