Posted on Oct 1, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to allow employees to work from home. In many cases this switch was a rapid one and for companies unaccustomed to telecommuting, it may have come with a lot of bumps in the road. Given the predicted “twindemic” of COVID-19 resurgence and seasonal flu in the months ahead, it’s likely that a significant number of employees will continue to work from home. For managers and company leaders, managing a remote workforce presents a number of challenges and often requires a willingness to adopt new cultural norms. It may also require an updating or revamping of company HR policies.
One of the biggest challenges is providing employees with the right tools they need to work from home while also ensuring data security. With cybercrime on the rise worldwide, no company is immune from hacking attempts and other threats. What security measures are in place, particularly if remote employees use their personal laptops and personal cell phones? Are digital tools provided through a shared drive accessed by a secure VPN? Ensuring cybersecurity should be a top priority, particularly for businesses that deal with sensitive financial or health information.
Besides the logistics of properly equipping remote workers, managers should clearly communicate their expectations regarding productivity and availability. For instance, managers may set an expectation that employees will be available between normal working hours for phone meetings and response to emails.
Clear and frequent communication is important. With a lack of in-person, everyday interactions with colleagues, it’s easy for remote workers to feel isolated from the company and eventually, disengaged with their work. Managers should plan to devote extra effort to check in with employees. Brief daily or weekly check-in calls and virtual staff meetings can help to identify any problems and keep employees motivated. While some employees thrive on regular contact with their colleagues and the people they report to, others are fine with touching base less often. In either case, managers and supervisors should keep the lines of communication open and be generous with positive feedback, encouragement, and support.
Another challenge involves the often-blurred line between work and personal life. Managers can set an example for healthy work-life balance by not expecting remote employees to be available after normal business hours and encouraging employees to use their earned time off. Remember that employees who feel they have to be “always on” are more likely to get burned out.
This material is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as authoritative guidance, legal advice, or assurance of compliance with state and federal regulations.Back to Blogs Helpful Resource Links