Business owners and employees continue to redefine the traditional internal and external functionings of the office through new and adapting remote work strategies. This dynamic shift raises both new and unexpected challenges and solutions. Properly managing this change is a response best handled with an aligned leadership team and a solid game plan. Though remote work is not a new concept, companies have never felt the effects of its mass-scale adoption.
Although preparing for change management in advance is preferable, the inherent uncertainty usually prevents it. Going forward, establish a work-from-home protocol as part of a management strategy that’s both adaptable yet solid in relation to your company’s needs. For now, we’ve highlighted some of the most common changes faced during this transitional period of remote work. We’ve compiled a collection of tips for best practice below:
From Physical Interaction to Digital Communication
A common and significant challenge caused by the WFH structure is the lack of face-to-face communication. The small idiosyncrasies of water-cooler conversations, team meetings, and shared workspaces are not only habitual but also a productive part of the creative process. Physical exposure to a team dynamic is known to motivate and increase efficiency. The office structure categorically becomes a place of work with a shared objective of productivity, accountability, and open communication.
This also causes a lack of accessibility where employees feel a reduction of managerial support, open communication, and resources through the physical distance. This slows production time and company morale, where employees feel a mental void in the task at hand and ability to complete it. The added effort used to gather information from coworkers is a discouraging obstacle and decreases the willingness to procure it.
Working in The Face of Distraction
Working from home blurs the lines between home and work life and this sudden boundary modification is essentially felt by everyone. Those who don’t live alone, especially parents, are privy to household responsibilities during “office hours” and have their attention constantly being split. From taking care of kids, parents, roommates, etc., employees feel an overexerted stress that potentially seeps into their output. ‘Multitasking culture’ has taken on a new meaning as employees struggle to homeschool kids, divide unplanned responsibilities, and produce high-quality work. To learn more about proper and productive management strategies, read here.
Leaders and directors need to be aware of this when creating remote-work policy. Considering a less-universal approach to employee management is best and allowing leeway for employees to create their most optimal schedule will in-turn increase employee output. Now more than ever, employees are seeking emotional support. Leaning into this type of organization, at least temporarily will boost the mental stamina employees on all levels seem to be facing. Also, offering resources and activities that boost “office esteem” is a great way to mimic the traditional work arrangement staff are used to.
Company Culture is Community
This mandatory physical distancing has disenfranchised the cultivated company culture that sets your organization apart. Integrate a plan that virtually mimics your company culture through a digital landscape while also adding the new needs sought during quarantine. Add new facets that redefine what gives your company its own personality. Provide employees with varying options for social interaction, both for informal conversation and work-related production. Brainstorming sessions, coffee talks, and after-work Zoom parties are a fun and innovative way to keep employees involved.
Adding the new rules of remote-work as part of your company-culture technique. Scheduling check-ins, offering necessary tech resources, and redefining engagement tactics can be established as a cultural benefit as opposed to just company protocol. Allow managers to designate interactive activities with their teams that reverberates the encouraging system of team brainstorming and execution. Read more about the importance of company culture here.
Things To Consider:
- Manage intake of highly stressful or negative news. Strike a balance with positive and uplifting stories.
- Establish a change management plan during this downtime in preparation for future crises.
- Offer helpful resources in any way possible: devise child-care plans, implement proper software, redefine structure to work relatively with employees, not against them.
- Prioritize physical and mental health for highest employee output.
- Establish boundaries that separate home and work life as part of company culture approach.