With the current coronavirus outbreak going on around the world, many employees continue to work from home to support social distancing. While this may come easy for some companies or employees, others might not be familiar or comfortable with working in this environment.
Here are a few steps employers can take to ensure that their employees are able to effectively transition to working from home.
Set clear expectations
While at the office, employees likely know exactly what is expected of them on a daily basis. This can include when they have meetings or other duties, who they need to communicate with throughout the day, what work they need to start or finish, and in what order they will get all of this done.
At home, however, these lines can become a little blurred. The employee is at home alone, unable to easily speak to whomever they need to at a moment’s notice. Perhaps the work they are able to do at home is different from what they are able to do at the office, based on available technologies and other resources.
Therefore, to eliminate these difficulties, it is important that the employer sets clear expectations at the start of the work-from-home process. They should let their employees know exactly what is expected of them, based on the resources available to them, and what should be accomplished on a daily basis.
If employees know exactly what they need to get done and when, and can go into their work day with a checklist of things to do, they will likely feel more comfortable working away from everything they are used to, and being productive while doing so.
Daily meetings or one-on-one calls
In order to ensure that employees are staying on track with their work, as well as ensuring that all expectations remain clear, it is important that employers have daily communication with their employees. Whether this is a group meeting, via phone or video chat, a one-on-one conversation, or a quick text or email, employers should have steady communication with their employees throughout the work day.
While employers don’t need to maintain communication to the point of micromanaging, just as they wouldn’t want to do if they were actually in the office, checking in with employees throughout the day will help the machine run effectively. By doing so, employees will be able to show (or rather explain) progress on their work, ask any questions they may have, and discuss the next steps to be taken. While employers should be able to trust their employees, regular communication also allows them to check that their employees are being productive during the time that they are supposed to be on the clock, and not being distracted by things around the house.
Ensure that employees have as many resources as possible to work efficiently at home.
In order to get the job well done and work efficiently, employees need as many resources as possible. This can include a work phone or laptop, or at least the ability to connect to the necessary programs or files on a different device, portals for receiving and turning in work, and channels for employers and employees to all stay connected and easily communicate with each other.
This might take some creativity, and you might have to research and find new programs and devices that you don’t have already in order to make all of this work. The more avenues you provide for employees to get their work done and communicate properly, the easier it will be for everyone to work, and for things to get accomplished.
Treat this as a learning experience
Many companies are not familiar with all of these processes, and it might not be as easy for some companies, or some employees, to work as best as they can in this new environment. Therefore, employers and employees have to be patient during this process, and realize that not everything will go off without a hitch on day one, and it will likely take time for everyone to get into their groove.
It is important to understand that what is best and easiest for one employee might not be the same for another. Make adjustments as needed so that everyone is able to work as best as possible in their own way. Take it one day at a time, evaluate what is working and what isn’t, and try again tomorrow.