Drastic situations call for reassuring reactions from managers and business owners alike. Remember, you set the tone for how your company proceeds through these uncertain times, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to make this process as efficient as possible.
If this seems like a daunting task, don’t panic. To make sure that you have the tools you need to succeed in these uncharted waters, we came up with 6 tips for managing at-home employees that you can implement today.
6 Tips for Managing Your At-Home Employees
- Structure daily check-ins – It’s easy for your employees to feel like they’re lost in the ether if they don’t hear from you for long periods of time. While you don’t want to micromanage your team, it’s important for them to know that you’re available for questions and feedback. Create a schedule and slot your employees in at different points during the day to check-in and make sure they’re on the right track. If once a day seems like too much, try 2-3 times a week.
- Use multiple communication platforms – Email, IM, Google Hangouts, Slack, Zoom, Webex. Certain platforms are easier for your employees to use than others. Some of that might be based on their distinctive communication style, but it’s best to use whatever is most helpful for them. That being said, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many options because managing them will be more confusing than necessary. So narrow it down to the ones best suited for your business. A good idea is to take a survey of your employees and ask which ones they feel comfortable using and implement those moving forward.
- Set clear expectations and due dates – There’s no point in pretending like it won’t happen. Things get lost in translation when you work remotely. Sometimes we think we’re expressing an idea clearly through an email or short electronic message, but our employees don’t see it that way. Though you might have a ridiculous amount of messages to send each day, make sure you’re taking the time to be explicit about your directions and due dates. Though you want to be able to trust your employees when given a directive, while in the midst of this unprecedented situation, it’s always better to err on the side of explicitness.
- Video interactions can be preferable to email – Like the advice above, this one comes down to clarity. If your employees are like most people, a majority of them learn better from face-to-face interactions rather than electronic ones. So if you find that your employees, or a specific employee, is struggling to understand what you’re communicating to them, consider setting up a video conference so you can work out the details.
- Create a remote social hour – Your employees need some time to blow off steam. Many of them are not only juggling their regular work but also teaching their children and taking care of older family members. Send a survey around to your employees and see what days and times work best for them. If you’re feeling really generous, you could even get them gift cards from a local liquor store or restaurant to provide some party supplies.
- Be understanding about transition issues – Problems will arise as you shift into working remotely. The key is to not let them become overwhelming. Remind yourself that certain aspects of your managing style and business won’t be perfect right now. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be measuring your success compared to how you were doing last month but by how you’re reacting to this situation given all of the obstacles in your way.