Before 2020, most people only worked remotely on occasion. Perhaps it was a weekly thing, maybe monthly, but today, it’s commonplace. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are facing the challenges that come with working remotely and with those challenges, there are common mistakes that employees can make.
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is the lack of access to the information needed for work. One reason for this is the difficulty in effective communication when people are working remotely. Simply put, it’s harder to communicate quickly when colleagues aren’t just a quick walk away.
One way to combat this is to establish some rules of engagement. Decide on structured daily check-ins that will keep everyone on the same page. You should also make sure all there are several different communication technology options available for employees.
What works well in one situation or for one person may not be the best option in another. By having options, they will be able to communicate more effectively and on their terms.
From memes to TikTok videos to NPR, everyone has acknowledged that the isolation felt during COVID-19 has been difficult for many people to handle. A particularly difficult transition for many people was moving from the office to working remotely.
This social isolation can quickly lead to loneliness and employees feeling disconnected from their colleagues. To help your employees feel more connected again and to help fight some of the loneliness they are likely feeling, try hosting a virtual office party or community office breaks.
These can easily be done over a video conferencing platform and can be a great way to incorporate the social interaction that makes work fun. Not only that, it can be a great stress reliever too.
Let’s face it, switching from in-office work to remote work can be stressful. Suddenly your employee is having to try harder to focus with distractions of their home; their kids, their pets, their couch. But the secret is that you can help your employees during the transition by simply building rapport with them.
It all starts with forming a connection that goes beyond your work relationship. Have a conversation with them about their growth, their advancement, their goals, dreams, and aspirations. This can help to build the relationship so they see you as someone on their team who is there to help them grow and build.
Use these chats to acknowledge their stress. You may also consider having these talks more often and for longer blocks of time with your remote employees. It will help them to remain connected to the company and to the team.
It’s hard enough keeping a meeting on track when you’re face-to-face, but when everyone is logging in, dealing with technical difficulties, trying to keep the background noise quiet, and dealing with the many distractions of their computers, it can feel almost impossible.
The big causes of all these distractions: lack of organisation, lack of preparation, or multi-tasking. To help curb the distractions and keep your virtual meetings productive, set an agenda and send it out ahead of time. This will allow all the attendees to follow along and plan on what will be discussed.
You should also stay mindful of the time limit you set for your meetings and stick to them. Another helpful thing to do is assign certain action items to others on the team so they have to participate.
When working from home, it’s easier for employees to start getting lax in their work habits. They don’t have a commute, so they have more time to work. In fact, it’s a common misconception that remote employees will be likely to slack off. The reality is they are more likely to overwork themselves than any office employee.
Help your employees set and stick to a work schedule. Encourage them to maintain certain habits, like putting on work-appropriate clothes and reducing their distractions during work times. Along with that, encourage them to take short breaks at regular intervals, take vacations, and take mental health days.
As we’ve seen, the transition to remote work can be isolating and lead to some level of mental health stress. By helping them care for their wellbeing, you will continue to have a strong team of healthy and happy employees.
Remote work doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little help from leaders, employees can make the transition and thrive in their remote setting. By focusing on positive habits, making connections, and encouraging employee wellbeing, you can avoid making these mistakes through these times.
As they get the hang of working remotely, you may find that it can be even more productive and effective than working from the office.
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