Long-distance relationships are never easy.
At least not as simple as we’d like them to be.
Be it with your partner, your friends, or your team of employees!
Work From Home (WFH) may not be a norm for most but it has often been everyone’s wish – that is, before they were forced to.
The pre-COVID era popularly frowned upon the WFH culture but as we can observe in the economies around the world, the pandemic has vastly changed those opinions. Even though businesses are gradually opening up again, the new working lifestyle seems like it’s here to stay.
This also means that while you could make-do with managing your teams from afar for the short-term, now is the time to learn the tricks to continue for the foreseeable future.
May I suggest taking a look at the list below?
1. Have Flexible Work Hours
While I understand work is important, you have to keep in mind that your employees are not working from distraction-free cubicles anymore. Being at home means they might have unending household chores just like you, and some of them could take priority. Try being an empath and keep the working hours adjustable.
If they need to work 8 hours, let them choose their own schedule so long as they deliver quality results. Tech giant Microsoft also announced similar benefits for their workers a few months back and from what I hear, the reviews have been golden.
2 . Make Homes Work-Friendly
The one thing that made working from home difficult for a lot of employees was the unavailability of high-speed internet, which is only an example from a much longer list of obstacles. For a shorter time period, adjusting was easier but if this is going to be the new normal, make sure they have access to the necessary facilities.
You could begin with paying for a separate internet connection that provides a higher quality bandwidth or helping furnish their home offices with comfortable seating.
3 . Conduct Daily Team Meetings
This might not have been a part of your regular office schedule, but this is a change you’d want to welcome with open arms. Start your workdays with a ten-minute virtual meeting – it will not only ensure that all members know their goals for the day but will also help you keep a track of their progress, discuss new updates regarding clients or just catch-up with them every once in a while. You can also go a step ahead and insist for everyone to have their cameras on so it doesn’t feel like talking to a box.
4. Appreciate and Celebrate
Simply because you’re not in geographical proximity doesn’t mean you can’t praise your team’s good work or sing congratulations on closing a new deal or celebrate birthdays and festivals together. Remember those daily meetings we talked about? Use them to spread some cheer and make sure your squad knows their hard work and presence on the team is valued. Paypal got creative during Christmas, hosting a 29-hour long virtual party across continents. Your team can certainly take out an hour, right?
5. Incentivise Efforts
Working from home has been considered an equivalent of “lying in bed and doing hardly anything” through the years, but now that you understand the hurdles one has to pass to deliver results while working from “the comforts of their home”, incentivize it! Your team is putting in their best efforts and now is the time for you to reward it.
It could be an appreciation certificate, an extra leave, a gift coupon or a monetary benefit. Choose the best fit for you and your team and let them know how much you admire their hard work and loyalty towards the company. You could also felicitate them with these tokens during monthly virtual conferences in front of the entire company. This will work tremendously well in encouraging and motivating them along with their peers.
6. Use Collaborative Applications
Now that they’re not going to be just a cubicle away for a longer period than anticipated, you might want to invest in collaborative tools that can help your team function as one. This is especially important for Customer Service teams that are working remotely as your customer’s experience is just as important as your employees’ and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software just might be the way to go. Both free and paid versions of multiple such programs can be found online and you can select the one that best suits your needs.
7. Stop Micromanaging
The new work culture, among other things, has also meant a feeling of loss of control for many managers. But that does not mean your employees enjoy your constant check-ins. Trust them with their jobs and instead of peeking over their shoulders, make yourself accessible for any issues they may be facing.
If they are meeting deadlines, delivering results as well as communicating clearly, you can be certain that they are being efficient and productive. Cultivate faith and not fear, and then see success knock on your door.
8. Weekly Team Lunches
Even though team outings and breaks are not really an option in the near future, a virtual lunch together, once a week is the least you could organize. This gives you time to take a step back from the constant pressure of being their “boss” to being their friend.
Get yourself more involved with their lives, learn more about their day and maybe even gossip a little about your favorite subjects and then sit back and observe how this raises morale in them. Who knows? You might even find a new fishing buddy here!
As mentioned before, this new work setting looks like a long-term plan.
All I can do is share with you some tried and tested tips and tricks from the handbooks of those who’ve had and managed ‘Work From Home’ teams. The execution of these is solely on your shoulders. Make the best of it.
May the Force be with you!
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.