The recent events caused by the coronavirus breakout and the resultant lockdowns have forced businesses to rethink the way they operate. It could have a profound impact on how organisations deal with disruptions in future. As governments have mandated social distancing, remote work is the only viable alternative for organisations.
But how do employees make the shift from working in an office setup to working from home all of a sudden?
There is likely to be a lot of confusion, challenges, and questions in the minds of employees.
Common Concerns Your Employees will Have when Working From Home & How to Alleviate Them
So, here are some typical questions your employees might have when asked to work from home and its possible answers:
1. I don’t have the discipline. How do I manage my work hours at home?
At home, you are bound to get distracted by the routine things that need to be done. Of course, it’s hard! You could have kids running around, chores to do and other personal work that can take you off the course. And then, there’s no over-the-shoulder accountability to keep you off social media platforms.
Share tips with your employees to help them develop discipline. Ask them to not work from their couch or bed and find a dedicated, quiet space with a desk to focus.
Encourage them to take regular breaks where they can step out and check on their personal business within the stipulated time and get back to work. Talk about the importance of scheduling critical tasks and getting them done in the morning.
Encourage your team to use time tracking software like Toggle or Clockify to track their work hours and understand how effectively they are managing their time.
2. Should I work all the time? How will my boss know that I am actually working?
On the other hand, there are folks who try to overcompensate by working beyond their normal hours, constantly checking emails and chatting with co-workers. It gets to a point where you find it hard to separate work and personal life. Plus, you might be worried that your boss thinks you are not working and so you try to prove otherwise.
Unplugging at the end of the day is important to restore your energy and motivation. It is important to make your employees understand that it is their overall performance that makes a difference and not the hours that they spend online.So, advise your team to keep a steady pace of work through the day, take time off to relax when they need to and remember to breathe! Always encourage them to exercise in order to stay fit. Click To Tweet
3. How do I communicate with my team?
In-office, you usually catch up on updates through impromptu lunches, coffee or spontaneous table-side brainstorming sessions. But when you are at home, it may seem like you are missing out and not getting the full picture or that you are the last person to find out about things.
In order to address communication gaps, connect with your team through chat messengers and use cloud platforms for sharing documents so that everyone can collaborate. Video calls are also a great means to connect with peers or employees so that you can see each other and you always stay updated with the latest developments.
4. I am getting lonely. What should I do?
Over a period of time, you are bound to get all lonely at home and this is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of working from home. Especially for people with outgoing personalities and others who get energy from others around them, it can be very difficult. It can take some getting used to.
Being within a group brings a sort of camaraderie and there’s no substitute for being actually present in the office. That being said, you can always maintain the same camaraderie even when your employees are working from home by constantly checking in on them with quick friendly chats and conversations.
It’s all about getting used to working in a different way. Again, the appropriate communication tools are going to come handy here. Whenever your employees feel zoned out, encourage them to communicate with their managers or co-workers and keep the conversation going.
5. I am unable to concentrate on my tasks at home. How do I get work done and meet deadlines?
Motivation is another challenge while working remotely. Dealing with monotonous tasks can seem boring.
It is a different story when your employees are physically at the office because you can see the effort they are putting in. While working from home, update your team with daily progress reports to make it easier for them to concentrate on their tasks.
Encourage your employees to motivate themselves as self-motivation is key to get your work done promptly without procrastinating. Appreciating their efforts and critiquing their work can motivate them to concentrate more and meet the deadlines.
6. How do I connect from home without a reliable internet connection?
Office technology is usually standard grade and quick. But your remote internet hookup or mobile signal issue may not be reliable and that can be a big problem. It may sound like a small issue but many remote workers have struggled with phone coverage issues and internet speed that cannot meet the requirement of the job.
Ask your employees to check that they have the right technology to support connectivity, a powerful router for instance, before they start working from home. Advise them to check with their service providers and run necessary speed tests to understand whether they require upgrades or not.
Encourage your team to avail access to file hosting services like Virtual Private Network (VPN) etc. so that you are on the same page as your team. If your team doesn’t have these essential tools to connect from home, reach out to them and provide them necessary assistance.
7. How will I manage and mark my attendance?
While connecting from home, how employees can make their presence known is another concern. How can they ensure that they are being heard?
Logging attendance via the company intranet VPN is easy. As a manager, you should also establish a daily catch-up call with remote employees. The important feature of this daily check-in is that it lets employees know that their presence is acknowledged and if they have any concerns or questions, it can be promptly addressed.
The current crisis will lead to a rise in the use of virtual collaboration technology across the world. Working remotely can be uncharted territory for many however it may soon become the new normal. Therefore, learning to adapt to change is very important.