In a snap, we have gone from offices in the city to work from home. It is not ideal, but it is the new normal, and we must adapt, adjust, and accept that for now, this is how things will work. And so, for those business owners, CEO’s and Upper Management, what should you expect from this shift?
Working remotely and intermittently has been practiced for a long time by many people. Right now, the shift is large-scale. Every working person in this world has to deal with that now, which means organizational practices and other shared habits will be disrupted. We have to be more open to the new situation and also practice a lot of patience. The old ways will not work now.
What must managers do to maintain if not increase the productivity of their team members during this time?
The manager must look for new ways to gather information and share with his team members the best practices to do their work online. The employees will have to learn it, and for some, it will take time. Managers must be patient since not all people are fast learners, and it will be more challenging to teach the work since it is remote. A daily online meeting will be an excellent avenue to have an open forum so that people can share what is working for them and what is not. By then, changes can be made for the better. Given the pandemic, the “bottom-up” practice will have to do.
How can managers or team leaders encourage communication and collaboration at this time?
Have you heard of Zoom? It is a valuable technological tool in getting people together for a meeting or conference. When appropriately used, Zoom is the platform to promote coordination between teams. But then again, frequent Zoom meetings is not advisable since it can be a waste of time. Managers can schedule a once a day quick meeting with a time limit and also, a once a week conference for updates and such.
Also, during meetings, managers must follow a set of principles:
- There must be a head among the team who makes all the decisions after weighing all the information provided
- The person making the decisions must know the work of each team inside and out like its objectives, the people working, their responsibilities, and such.
- The person must call a meeting only when necessary. If daily meeting is not needed, then, don’t call for one.
- Each Zoom meeting must have at most eight participants so that it is not crowded, and ideas can be easily heard.
- Let those employees be excused from the meeting if they are not needed.
- If the meeting is for fifteen minutes, then it should end in fifteen minutes. Time is essential.
- Do not multi-task when in a meeting.
One of the advantages of working from home is that employees are expected to be independent. They have to know what they need to work on and their timetable. Employees must have a list of things to accomplish with the due date. When they are done, they can submit all the work in a file-sharing tool like Dropbox or Google Docs. The manager can then view their work from there.
It is not a good thing to load people with too many emails about work. Information overload can cause burnout, and so, a briefing can be done to keep everyone on top of their duties. Once a day or every other day – it will depend upon their work rhythm.
How can people successfully work from home?
There is no perfect answer to that since working from home will depend upon the person and his personal work-related ways. One can try different approaches and then adjust accordingly.
First, the work-life balance is essential. Also, there must be a time for work that is solely for work. The place at home must also be work conducive and no TV. It is preferred that employees work on a table with their laptops or PC on, and sitting on a desk chair. Lastly, take breaks. Never forget that.
The pandemic has brought everyone down to their knees. But we have to move forward, and that means trying to work and live in new ways. People are resilient, anyway. There will always be room for development, learning, and growth.