The world is in an unprecedented crisis at the moment, especially if you’re running a business. Flexible working and remote working has been a talking point for years, but in just a few short weeks, wherever possible it’s now become standard practice.
Our top tips for managing flexible and remote working for your employees
Your employees simply won’t be as productive if they don’t have the tools to get their job done properly.
What to do: make a list of the important systems and tools you use. Make sure they all work as expected, or find an alternative. Be very clear that people should flag any problems they’re having.
It’s important to consider all of your employees - some employees may not have a desk they can work on, internet connection or a quiet place to take calls.
What to do: Be proactive about finding out if everyone has what they need. Maybe they can take a screen or a laptop stand from the office, or claim expenses for a phone bill to use it as a hotspot. Think about childcare and how that fits around team meetings. Talk to your teams and adapt accordingly.
It’s important to revisit the basics - make sure everyone understands the team objectives, their individual roles, and how each person contributes to the team outcome. Setting expectations is essential to make flexible working as productive and effective as possible.
What to do: Emphasise working hours, contributions and the overall expectations for flexible/remote working.
Working remotely means that teams won’t be able to get the same face-to-face contact as usual. It’s important to have open and regular communication to make sure that teams still feel as though they are connected and part of a team.
What to do:
- Video meetings: Skype and Zoom are always popular, but Adobe Connect have also announced an extended 90-day trial to support businesses during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- If remote working is prolonged, webcam calls and personal catch-ups can be extremely beneficial to help employees feel more connected, as you don’t get the same everyday interactions as you do in the workplace.
Make sure your employees have the right tools and equipment to work remotely and get their job done. They need to stay connected to their inbox and shared files, but also need a reliable video conferencing tool to have meetings.
It’s crucial to keep employees up-to-date with the latest information, especially when they aren’t all physically in the same place.
What to do:
- Create a shared area that stores regularly updated important news and announcements - e.g. the intranet home page.
- File sharing: DropBox, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive.
- It would also be useful to have an accessible forum where employees can ask questions about big announcements and important news.
- Schedule regular team meetings so that colleagues can keep in touch throughout the day/week. Managers should communicate updates in these meetings too.
Support is essential to your employees - whether it be professional, emotional or personal. During times of unexpected change this is when people need it the most.
What to do: Make sure managers are well trained on how to support employees during times of uncertainty. Providing a designated contact (e.g. a support group) where employees can access support/ information would be handy if colleagues don’t have a specific person within the organisation they can turn to for support.