By now it has clearly been established that the working environment has forever changed and that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting effect on businesses, especially office-based businesses. Before the pandemic, it was very standard for employees to attend work even when feeling slightly unwell due to the worry that they would be docked pay for that day. However, in this new world, we have all understood the health is far more important than wealth, allowing employees confident enough to say they will work remotely when they feel ill as they know they’re workload will be completed whether they are at work or in the office.
Employers now have increased confidence in their team members as they were no longer able to look over the shoulders of their staff and could no longer micromanage their team. They have to put their trust in their team that they would continue their work to the same standard without having to hold their hand. Having trust within your team is key as you need them to feel like a valued member of the team, someone that has input in the business.
Saying goodbye to the 9-5 working hours and embracing flexi-time. If we have learnt anything it's that we each have a time when we feel more productive. In reality working 9-5 is no one's dream, and by allowing employees to pick and tailor their hours will allow them to feel more in control of their life and allow them to be more focused. We should manage and value you as an employee by performance and quality, not for finishing work early if the quality of the work is spot on.
With the change in work dynamics, you don’t want your team to feel separate and isolated from one another as without an office the usual dynamic and camaraderie that is usually created through small talk and sharing breaks is lost. How can you limit this? Small talk is key, don’t just make interactions solely about work. Engage them and speak to them about the usual things you would in the office, allow them to feel a sense of community. From a study conducted by Slack, 85% of employees want to feel closer to their remote colleagues.
Clarity will not only help with your remote team but also when and if the team get back into the office. Establishing clearly the goals for the week will allow the team to pull tasks that they know will make a difference and will allow them to feel independent. They don’t have to sit around waiting to be told what to do, it will allow them to focus work and tasks on the company's weekly goal. Just because the team is working remotely it doesn’t mean that they should be accessible 24 hours, respects their time and give them real and attention goals, don’t give them tasks to complete when they are ready to sign out. They need to enjoy their time off work even if they are working from home, employees need to unwind and have set boundaries.
Although this is a given, investing the right technology will make a difference, if employees feel confident using the new technology implemented it will give them a sense of control. Giving them access to what they had in the office and making calls and video calls seem part of the day will make communication easier once they know that they too have the ability to set small calls with the team to set tasks or even just to catch up.