Working from home definitely has its perks, but it can also make the daily tasks of a manager that much more difficult. Right now, working remotely is a reality for many across the United States and even all over the world. Moreover, it’s important to acknowledge that for many companies and regions, remote work will be long-lasting, if not permanent. According to Forbes, the overall work-from-home percentage is estimated at 36%. And more specifically, a study outlined the probability and friendliness of various positions working from home. The remote-friendly percentage for managers is an astounding 52%.
Managing from a distance is clearly plausible, so long as managers are able and willing to adapt their typical routines and practices for the benefit of employees. Here are a few simple tips to set you and your team up for success:
Set your expectations and goals and make them clear
It’s never too late to sit down with your team and set some expectations and goals for the duration of the time you will be working remotely. However, you must voice what you expect from your employees. This should be as specific as possible so that the full team is on the same page. If you’d benefit from a daily check-in, voice that. If you’d appreciate everyone sending a message once they’re “logged on” for the day, voice that. These asks are simple tasks, but only when they are expressed clearly.
Provide and utilize quality tools
According to NPR, lots of remote workers are leaning heavily on Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, or GoToMeeting. Each of these software tools has its own strengths and capabilities. Choose your tool(s) purposefully, and train yourself and your team on how to leverage those tools. Even when moving back into the office, many of these tools will come in handy in enhancing communication and other efforts.
Start a line of open communication
Opening communication with your employees throughout this process is essential. While regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings are great, establishing ongoing communication is equally important. Be there for your employees when they need you. It used to be so easy as walking over to your office for them to ask you a question—make sure it stays that easy even if the mode of communication is changed. Offering help and support is critical during this time. Just as important as it is for you to voice your expectations and goals for your employees, it’s vital that your employees can voice their thoughts in return. Some of your employees may be attempting to work from home while having children at home from school, balancing the role of a parent, teacher, and employee. Understanding your employees work from home life on a realistic scale is a necessary part of that open communication.
Check in, listen, and change
Don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy as a manager—everyone is learning and adapting during this unprecedented time. It’s also important to note that there are no “one size fits all” recommendations we can provide. Make sure to do what’s best for your company and your team during these times, and learn and grow alongside your team.