The novel Coronavirus has forced all professionals into uncharted territory when it comes to not only how we perform our jobs, but the processes we follow to do so. Some have experience working remotely, and some don’t. Either way, COVID-19 has thrown companies into a situation where they have employees sprawled out across an area, region, or even the country. As workers follow quarantine orders, work has become home and home has become work.
Imagine not only having to adjust to this new work, and life, environment while still completing all of the responsibilities on your plate, but managing others to make sure they do the same. Here are 5 tips all managers need to heed as they manage from home, especially during a crisis.
Set Clear Expectations on the Onset
What is more challenging for an employee than not knowing exactly what is expected of them? As a manager, it’s your role to make sure direct reports know what work they should be doing and are clearly aware of the quality standards in place that need to be met. According to a Gallup Poll, only 50% of employees know what is expected of them, and this includes not just direct reports but those in managerial roles too.
Not All Employees Are Made Alike
One-on-one conversations are so important when people can’t communicate face-to-face. As a manager, take time to individually manage each of your direct reports and fully understand their new environment. Knowing what they need to perform their best with the current resources at their home office is crucial to not only making sure they can do their job properly, but that you can do yours too.
As much as you can, try to keep things status quo. If you manage a sales team and run contests periodically, keep up with that adding a work-from-home twist. If you’re able, it’s also a good idea to incorporate engagement strategies relevant to the new norm. For example, maybe a Tuesday WFH Tip or a weekly virtual event to celebrate recent accomplishments. Anything to keep people engaged and invested.
Employees who are used to working in the office might feel disconnected or isolated with their new in-home office setup. The resources and relationships they need to do their jobs best are now drastically different. As a manager, communicating with employees when you aren’t in the same location requires frequent conversations and transparency, especially during a crisis like COVID. Be honest not only about what is happening within the company, but what the expectations are for each direct report.
Support and Empathize
This is a challenging time for employees and employers alike. When there is a change in how operations are run, or there is a disruption to a consistent workflow, making the needed adjustments can take time for managers. Being physically present is sometimes what managers lean on to manage, making them unsure of how to perform this action from afar. Give those in leadership roles the support they need and empathize with the transition they are also going through.
Encourage Management Mindsets
Regardless of where employees are located, always have an understanding of what’s best for the organization. Put the strategic tools you need in place to keep employees happy and productive, and to make sure every project in the pipeline stays on track. Taking this step helps your employees feel encouraged and capable.