To compare the world today to what it was only a few months ago would be like comparing apples and oranges. It’s not the same place. Fortunately, businesses have found some workarounds in remote workforces, but that presents challenges of its own. Making matters worse, as a workforce grows, the problem is compounded.
What’s a leader to do? Several solutions, ranging from those made possible by technology, such as online notes, to those that are more visceral, such as balancing structure with flexibility are possible. Regardless, the goal is the same. What follows are a few suggestions for better managing a large team remotely.
Make Health and Wellness a Priority
Without a doubt, protecting your employees’ health and welfare must be a leader’s priority right now. After all, if employees aren’t taking care of themselves, they can’t focus on business. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do.
This is not to say that making sure someone else’s health is taken care of is easy. It can be hard enough to focus on your health, much less someone else’s.
Balance Structure and Flexibility
When people have structure in their lives, it’s easier to balance work and life. The way things are now, however, everything gets shuffled together, with very little structure. Despite this, structure does provide a sense of normalcy, easing anxiety.
While structure is important, business leaders also need to be flexible. For example, if you have employees who are homeschooling their children, you can’t expect them to drop everything so you can have a staff meeting. This isn’t easy, so find a middle ground.
Make Sure Employees Can Do Their Jobs
The pandemic has caught many businesses unprepared. In addition, although a March Gallup survey found that 55 percent of employees believe they are prepared to do their jobs, that leaves many who think they’re not. Employees can rectify this by ensuring employees have access to technology such as Evernote, Dropbox, Zoom, and other programs that create a virtual office anytime and anywhere.
Help Employees Overcome Distractions
It really can be difficult to work from a “virtual office” when there are distractions such as children and other elements of day-to-day life intruding in the background. Fortunately, following many time management tips could help a lot. Remember to automate, delegate, and outsource as much as you can.
Offering incentives can be an easy and simple way to make employees more productive and improve their mental health. Offering unexpected gift cards, extra vacation days, and shoutouts can work wonders for morale.
Don’t Let Communication Suffer
If there is anything that has an opportunity to suffer during this pandemic, it’s communications, including everything from meetings to watercooler chit-chats. It’s imperative, however, that employees be able to communicate regardless of the message. This means more than just enabling methods. It also means making sure everyone is available to everyone else.
Plan for a Post-Crisis Assessment
A recent survey showed that 41 percent of all working adults are afraid to go back to work. And, even if they weren’t afraid, they realize that things won’t be the same. There may even be incentives to stick with the new routine.
Regardless of what happens in the near future, employers not only need to adapt to the now, but prepare for life after the pandemic is over. Don’t be afraid to use metrics to gauge performance and ask lots of questions to do things better in the future.