Working remotely during Covid-19
With many employees working at home, it is important that employers not only keep in touch with those staff but also manage them effectively from a distance. Whilst they are working, they may be anxious about what is happening, struggling with being isolated from their work colleagues, and worrying about the uncertainty for the future. Obviously clients’ needs will differ, but we hope the below guidance is helpful for managing remote working.
· Lead by example – tell them how you are dealing with remote working, your wellbeing.
· Daily check-ins even just for a quick ‘chat’. This may be a virtual coffee or tea, a quick video chat, end of the week recap and sharing of status of work and discussion of the following week’s plan (see 2. Clarity about work).
· Informal virtual socials to help with inclusion and promote wellbeing - may include virtual quiz nights, drinks after work (not during working hours!), other work social clubs such as bridge can also be carried-out with the use of technology.
2. Clarity about work
· Setting standards and expectations required in light of changed ways of working and, maybe, changed focus of the organisation.
· Regular virtual 121 check-ins via email, ‘phone, text, Zoom, for example. Regularity will differ depending on the requirements of the business and the individual employee’s needs. Some may require more 121s than others and this needs to be judged by the manager.
· Regular team catch-ups – will depend on the work/project but we would recommend at least weekly. Again, could be group email, teams meeting software, Zoom, Skype.
· Encourage feedback and questions from employees to support trust and check understanding of requirements.
3. Employees’ wellbeing
· Be vigilant about remote workers. Are they coping working on their own? If not, what can you do to help? Offer an ‘open door’ policy to contact you if they wish to discuss needs. Do you have an employee assistance programme (EAP) that offers a helpline? Ensure all remote workers are aware of the options and use the regular 121 check-ins.
· Encourage employees to be healthy- eating healthily and taking regular exercise – both a challenge in this period of lockdown. Where you have in-house fitness sessions, move these on-line and offer them to all remote workers at one time of the day – think Jo Wicks PE for kids – a huge success! This may include yoga, pilates, keep-fit, for example.
· General wellbeing – remote workers may benefit from some on-line resilience coaching. This may look at vision, composure, reasoning, health, tenacity and collaboration.
4. Online training
· Any new starters on-boarding & induction may have to be moved on-line and completed virtually. Good communication is a key factor (see 1 above).
· Ensure they have access to on-line or e-learning training for use of new technology e.g. video-conferencing, webinars, podcasts, Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Slack, – ensure your remote workers have the skills to use these.