The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented policies, regulations, and changes in work culture. In trying to control the spread of the virus, several companies all over the globe had their employees work from home, and many are still doing so. While there are a lot of advantages to working from home such as the flexibility it offers, there are quite a number of potential disadvantages such as loneliness, work-life balance risks, among others.
In midst of the pandemic with companies trying to make the best of the situation, there are some mistakes often made by managers and business owners which could affect their employees as they work from home. This article provides for those mistakes to help business owners and managers navigate the situation and make better work from home policies for their employees.
• No Face-to-Face Contact
There are so many problems employees face with working from home, primary of which is the feeling of loneliness and lack of a sense of belonging to the workplace. This is because sometimes, virtual communication might not be enough especially over a long period of time. If your remote employees work locally, you can have them meet up at the office a few times a month to catch up. However, where they are far away from each other, encourage the use of video calls as emails and chats cannot always meet emotional needs.
• Not Walking the Walk
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when managing remote employees is not setting the standard for your employees. You cannot tell your employees to show up to virtual meetings on time and then show up 15 minutes late. If you want to make your remote team work, sending these kinds of mixed messages is not going to cut it. At the end of the day, your team would look up to you to set the standard for what is acceptable and what is not.
• Not Setting Clear Expectations and giving Clear Directions
When you give your remote employees a task, let them know exactly what you want from them. In the era of self-management and self-drive, it is important to set clear expectations and where required, give detailed directions to your team. For instance, timelines for completion as well as preferred medium and format of delivery as may be applicable.
• Not Creating Room for Conversations
When you work in a physical workspace, there are countless opportunities for spontaneous conversations. You stop by someone’s cubicle or office to say hi, catch up over lunch, bump into each other in the corridor or hallway. These short casual conversations might seem trivial, but the fact is that they are part of what brings your team together. Working from home takes away these opportunities to have spontaneous casual conversations that bring a healthy balance to the workplace. This does not provide an impossible situation, on the contrary, whilst you might not be able to recreate that spontaneous chatter, an organisation can still communicate and have conversations with employees and team members through virtual townhall and timeout sessions, because it remains a vital part of building a healthy team culture. At one-on-on meetings, ask how employees are doing both personally and professionally. Effective leadership is creating space for those casual conversations to happen.
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