With the transition to Work From Home (WFH) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are still having problems adapting to the new work situation.
Such a dilemma is understandable. It is natural for employers to want to personally supervise their employees face-to-face and see the progress they are making with their own eyes.
Despite reports of increased productivity among WFH employees, employers still need to get over their apprehensions and distrust in their employees’ abilities to get the work done even if they’re doing all their tasks at home.
They should also learn how best to manage their remote working employees.
Here are the ways by which you can manage your Work From Home employees:
1) Set expectations with a WFH Policy
Even before they go into a WFH arrangement, you should already set your expectations with the help of a clearly-written and easy-to-understand WFH policy.
The policy should contain your goals and your expectations, identify which positions in your company can work from home, the schedule agreed upon between you and your employee, and guidelines that they should follow.
2) Observing flexible schedules
One of the most important guidelines in the WFH policy is the allowance for a flexible schedule. You and your employee should discuss the matter thoroughly in order to arrive at the best work schedule.
It is important to point out that adjustments in the schedule may need to be done if family and other personal matters intrude into the designated work hours. In addition, there should also be set boundaries in the schedule.
One such boundary is stopping work-related texts, phone calls, and video chats outside of work hours.
3) Do frequent employee checks on video
Nothing can be more reassuring to an employee than to see their employer’s face, even on their computer screen. Aside from the bi-weekly or weekly meetings, you can schedule daily meetings, not only to provide possible advice or assistance on challenging tasks that they are doing, but also to check on their well-being.
4) Practice effective communication
There are a couple of aspects to effective communication during a WFH arrangement that you need to keep in mind. First, you must determine which form of communication best fits the culture of your WFH employees. Ideally, you should have email, texts, phone calls, and video conferencing for your employees to choose from.
For example, some employees prefer to receive instructions on new projects and tasks through email so that they can print them out and keep them on hand as guidelines for work. Be attentive to just how much communication your employee wants to receive in a day.
While it is sufficient for some employees to receive instructions once during the day, preferably in the morning at the start of the work hour, others want to have open communication lines with their employer throughout the day in order for their work progress to be assessed.
Effective communication is not a one-way street. Listen carefully to what your employee is saying and offer feedback and/or constructive advice. Employees feel motivated if their employers listen to them and place value on their opinions, observations, and suggestions.
5) Always be available for your WFH employees
In every task that they do, you must consider the possibility that your employees may need your suggestion or advice.
Same as with your employees’ work schedule, you should also inform them of your work sked as well.
You can also tell them on the best times of the day that you can entertain their video or phone calls. Of course, to give yourself a work-life boundary as well, inform your employees to contact you within your designated work hours.
6) Make brainstorming WFH-friendly
Nothing can be more boring than to do the same projects and tasks day by day. This was one of the restrictions imposed by WFH. This does not mean, however, that you and your employees can’t get creative not only on new projects, but also in your daily WFH work.
Make it a point to have weekly brainstorming sessions. This can be done through video conferencing. You and your employees should make the discussions interesting with the use of visual aids.
Two sites where you can bounce off ideas are Trello and Google Drive. All you need to do is to create a card or document outlining your proposed project and then have your employees post their feedback and suggestions below your proposal.
7) Provide means of collaboration
There are projects that would require collaboration among your employees. Aside from doing progress video conferencing, you may consider using shared apps and software in order to keep up to date on the work that each employee is doing.
Trello is one good way of keeping track of work progress. Another option is to come up with a shared report document tracking daily activities among your employees.
By doing these steps, you can manage your expectations realistically and make the necessary adjustments if certain employees are having challenges in their assigned tasks.
8) Don’t forget your employees have career aspirations too
Because of the WFH situation, your employees may feel that their ambitions for advancement may not be fulfilled. Use the longer work hours your employees have to further their learning.
Instead of assigning work for the one to two hours of daily commute that was eliminated from their daily schedules, encourage your employees to take career-related courses.
Some courses they might consider enrolling in include AI, programming, web design, and app development. Offer webinars so that your employees can be updated on any new tech that your company is using.
9) Set up a portal for Rewards & Recognition
Nothing can be more motivational for an employee than to see all their hard work receive some form of recognition. Consider setting up a Rewards & Recognition Portal in your company website.
The portal may contain company perks, like discount coupons or gift cards from retail sites like Amazon or affiliates, which employees can avail of whenever they meet a certain work quota.
Don’t just recognize the efforts of one employee lest you be accused of favoritism. Instead, do an equitable assessment of your employees’ achievements.
10) Foster a culture of trust and accountability
Trust and accountability should always be fostered between the employer and the employee. But of course, it is the employer who should set the example first. Learn to trust your employees that they can do their jobs. Avoid “looking over their shoulders” by calling or texting them throughout the day.
Hold your employees accountable for their work outputs. Apply the same to yourself. When you say you will do something for your employee, you also must be true to your words.
Managing your WFH employees is not the stressful affair that you think. The above tips demonstrate that you can still create an office environment virtually and by making frequent checks on your employees and the work that they do.
If you’re looking for other resources on working from home, be sure to check out our Complete Guide To Working From Home to get you started!