When non-essential businesses were forced to work remotely, managers had to go back to the drawing board to reconstruct their management plan. And, as you can probably imagine, with zero face-to-face supervision, and with A LOT of in-home distractions (not to mention complete social isolation), managers reported that workplace efficiency was much lower than normal.
So, with no working from home practice or policies in place, managers had to go the whole nine yards to ensure not only were reaching the same output, but that they were implacating new systems along the way to help their teams adapt, and continue operating effectively.
While there were an alarming amount of layoffs throughout lockdown, there were also people on the other end of the spectrum who started their jobs by joining their team over a video call. Many studies have concluded that a positive work environment leads to happy and efficient employees. But how can you really make certain your team is doing well when your only interactions are over a screen?
Here are some tips to ensure you’re fully supporting your team while avoiding micromanaging- because micromanaging is exhausting for everyone.
Manage Your Expectations:
Allow your team members to manage their own work schedule and routine, and put your trust in them that they will still complete all of their tasks.
“Frame what needs to be done and give them the room to come up with their own solutions.” is the advice given from Jean-Phillippe Senneville of the BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) He also suggests that in some cases, full productivity simply won’t be possible because of the circumstances. Giving partial, to full autonomy in the mode and timelines that employees complete their tasks allows managers to gauge and predict their team member’s performance in the future. Meaning that if someone is failing to complete their tasks; recognize that, and account for it moving forward!
Complete Daily Check-ins:
Following through on daily check-ins (and making sure that they stay regular) enables employees to consult with you to share their questions and concerns, making sure they know they are heard. Making it a routine gives them something to look forward to! While email can work for one-off days, for everyday use it is not sufficient. While visual cues are the main source of understanding a person’s character and their opinions, definitely opt for video calling. Not to mention that while people are in social isolation, it can be a change of pace to see different people…even if it’s just on a computer screen.
While you shouldn’t feel like you’re pulling teeth trying to get people to complete their work, try and think of what else could be consuming their time. Everyone on your team will now be living and working in different environments. They could be experiencing things outside of work, which may not be your business, but it may affect HOW they work, which is definitely your business. Understand how each team member manages stress (and all other emotions); because everyone does it differently. Not everything will go exactly according to plan, and that’s okay.
Make Technology Your Best Friend:
Technology has taken over, and if you weren’t already using it for almost everything in your workday before lockdown started…you definitely are now. Applications like ZOOM and Microsoft Teams have become the basis for most face-to-face conversations. Exploring, and finding tools that meet the needs of the situation can significantly simplify tasks for your team. While the early days of discovering and testing out new technologies shouldn’t be painful, it can be challenging to find one that everyone actually likes. So: be patient, and be adventurous, because there really are so many great resources out there.
Promote Remote Social Interactions:
During lockdowns, people are bored, exhausted (even when there’s nothing to do!), and running out of recipes to try, rooms to organize, etc. The bottom line is: they need something to look forward to. Engaging your team, and finding new ways to socialize from home is great for casual chats that you would be having if you were in the office. There are a plethora of different ideas people have come up with now that you can use:
- Virtual Happy Hours (you can add a game too!)
- Coffee Breaks
- Recognition Get-Togethers
- Pizza Parties
TIP: Rather than taking extra time out of your team members’ day, carve out a time during the workday- don’t give them anything to grumble about!
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As with everything, consistency is key, and seeing results in your team will take time! The world is ever-changing, and adapting to it is so crucial. There are so many great resources that you can use, but also remember that if it ain’t broke- don’t fix it. Good luck, you’ve got this. If you need some extra support be sure to check out the offering of our sister company Bee Happy HR.
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