Negosentro | How To Manage Remote Employees | In response to the uncertainties brought by the current global health crisis, the majority of companies and universities have asked their employees to start working in the comforts of their homes to ensure their health’s safety. With the current demands of the crisis, entrepreneurs and employees made the necessary adjustments to keep their companies operating. There was a long list of drastic changes brought by Covid-19 and that includes proof that working from home is still as effective as working in an office setting.
Laptops and reliable internet connection have been a demand for workers who shifted to a traditional set-up to a work from home structure. Although remote jobs have existed before the health crisis, this type of employment has become the current trend where new company policies leave many employees and their managers working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time for most of them.
What Are The Common Obstacles Of A Remote Job?
To begin with, Managers got to understand factors which will make remote work especially demanding. Otherwise, high-performing employees may experience declines in job performance and engagement once they begin working remotely, especially within the absence of preparation and training. Challenges inherent in remote work include:
- Lack of face-to-face supervision
Both managers and their employees often express concerns about the shortage of face-to-face interaction. Supervisors worry that employees won’t work as hard or as efficiently (though research indicates otherwise, a minimum of for a few sorts of jobs). Many employees, on the opposite hand, struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication. In some cases, employees feel that remote managers are out of touch with their needs, and thereby are neither supportive nor helpful in getting their work done.
- Limited access to information
Newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and energy needed to locate information from coworkers. Even getting answers to what appear to be simple questions can desire an outsized obstacle to a worker based reception.
This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges which will emerge among remote coworkers. Research has found that a scarcity of “mutual knowledge” among remote workers translates to a lower willingness to offer coworkers the advantage of the doubt in difficult situations. For instance, if you recognize that your officemate has a rough day, you’ll view a brusque email from them as a natural product of their stress. However, if you receive this email from a foreign coworker, with no understanding of their current circumstances, you’re more likely to require offense, or at a minimum to think poorly of your coworker’s professionalism.
- Social Segregation
Loneliness is one of the foremost common complaints about remote work, with employees missing the informal social interaction of an office setting. It’s thought that extraverts may suffer from isolation more within the short run, particularly if they are doing not have opportunities to attach with others in their remote-work environment. However, over an extended period of your time, isolation can cause any employee to feel less “belonging” to their organization, and may even end in increased intention to go away the corporate.
- Home Distractions
We frequently see photos representing remote work that portray a parent holding a toddler and typing on a laptop, often sitting on a settee or living-room floor. This is often a terrible representation of effective virtual work. Typically, we encourage employers to make sure that their remote workers have both dedicated workspace and adequate childcare before allowing them to figure remotely. Yet, within the case of a sudden transition to virtual work, there’s a way greater chance that employees are going to be contending with suboptimal workspaces and (in the case of faculty and daycare closures) unexpected parenting responsibilities. Even in normal circumstances family and residential demands can hit remote work; managers should expect these distractions to be greater during this unplanned work-from-home transition.
How Managers Can Show Support To Their Subordinates Who Are Working Remotely
As much as remote work is often fraught with challenges, there also are relatively quick and cheap things that managers can do to ease the transition. Actions that you simply can take today include:
- Establish structured daily check-ins
Many successful remote managers establish a daily call with their remote employees. This might take the shape of a series of one-on-one calls if your employees work more independently from one another, or a team call, if their work is very collaborative. The important feature is that the calls are regular and predictable, which they’re a forum during which employees know that they will consult you, which their concerns and questions are going to be heard.
- Provide several different communication technology options
Email alone is insufficient. Remote workers enjoy having a “richer” technology, like video conferencing, that provides participants many of the visual cues that they might have if they were face-to-face. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for smaller groups: Visual cues leave increased “mutual knowledge” about coworkers and also help reduce the sense of isolation among teams. Video is additionally particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations because it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.
There are other circumstances when quick collaboration is more important than visual detail. For these situations, provide mobile-enabled individual messaging functionality (like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) which may be used for less complicated, less formal conversations, also as time-sensitive communication.
If your company doesn’t have technology tools already in place, there are inexpensive ways to get simple versions of those tools for your team, as a short-term fix. Consult your organization’s IT department to make sure there’s an appropriate level of knowledge security before using any of those tools.
- Establish “Rules of Engagement”
Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for his or her teams. For instance, “We use video conferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we use IM when something is urgent.” Also, if you’ll, let your employees know the simplest way and time to succeed in you during the workday (e.g., “I tend to be more available late within the day for unplanned phone or video conversations, but if there’s an emergency earlier within the day, send me a text.”) Finally, keep an eye fixed on communication among team members (to the extent appropriate), to make sure that they’re sharing information as required.
We recommend that managers establish these “rules of engagement” with employees as soon as possible, ideally during the primary online check-in meeting. While some choices about specific expectations could also be better than others, the foremost important factor is that each employee shares an equivalent set of expectations for communication.
- Provide opportunities for remote social interaction
One of the foremost essential steps a manager can take is to structure ways for workers to interact socially (that is, have informal conversations about non-work topics) while working remotely. This is often true for all remote workers, but particularly so for workers who are abruptly transitioned out of the office.
The easiest thanks to establishing some basic social interaction are to go away a while at the start of team calls only for non-work items (e.g., “We’re getting to spend the primary jiffy just catching up with one another. How was your weekend?”). Other options include virtual pizza parties (in which pizza is delivered to all or any team members at the time of a videoconference), or virtual office parties (in which party “care packages” are often sent beforehand to be opened and enjoyed simultaneously). While these sorts of events may sound artificial or forced, experienced managers of remote workers (and the workers themselves) report that virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation, promoting a way of belonging.
- Offer encouragement and emotional support
Especially within the context of an abrupt shift to remote work, managers need to acknowledge stress, hear employees’ anxieties and concerns, and empathize with their struggles. If a new remote employee is struggling but not communicating stress or anxiety, ask them how they’re doing. Even a general question like “How is that this remote work situation understanding for you so far?” can elicit important information that you simply won’t otherwise hear. Once you ask the question, make certain to concentrate carefully on the response, and briefly restate it back to the worker, to make sure that you simply understood correctly. Let the employee’s stress or concerns (rather than your own) be the main target of this conversation.
Research on emotional intelligence and emotional contagion tells us that employees look to their managers for cues about the way to react to sudden changes or crises. If a manager communicates stress and helplessness, this may have what Daniel Goleman calls a “trickle-down” effect on employees. Effective leaders take a two-pronged approach, both acknowledging the strain and anxiety that employees could also be feeling in difficult circumstances, but also providing affirmation of their confidence in their teams, using phrases like “we’ve got this,” or “this is hard, but I do know we will handle it,” or “let’s search for ways to use our strengths during this point.” With this support, employees are more likely to require up the challenge with a way of purpose and focus.
Keeping A Face Mask On Hand Is Helpful For Office Workers
Working from home set-up has been implemented on most companies and occasionally on-site work or visits is a must for some. Wearing a mask in a situation where we cannot easily adhere to a strict social distancing between 1 to 2 meters. And trustee facemask should be kept at hand. I prefer using the KN95 mask when traveling to and from work, although all the other types of face masks would also do the much-needed protection from the virus. Although KN95 is a China Standard, it has the same quality as N95’s.
Same with N95, KN95 masks are also made from multiple layers of synthetic material (typically a polypropylene plastic polymer) and is designed to be worn over the mouth and nose. Straps behind your ear that will help to hold the mask in place. It also filters out and captures 95 percent of tiny 0.3-micron particles in the air (hence the “95” in the names). Given the same protective properties of both masks, I think the KN95 mask is more economical but provides the same protection that we need in fighting the deadly virus.