Tips For Managing Newly Remote Workers

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As COVID-19 continues to spread, many employers are allowing their teams to work remotely from home. Remote work has grown 173 percent since 2005, 11 percent faster than the rest of the workforce. Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in the current pandemic, this level of preparation may not have been feasible.

To measure employer response to the COVID-19 crisis, law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP sent a flash survey to its clients and collected responses from 550 US employers from March 12th- 16th. Following are highlights:

  • 67% of employers were taking steps to allow employees to work from home who don’t normally do so.
  • 36% were actively encouraging all employees to work from home in some or all parts of the country as of mid-March.
  • 42% were encouraging employees to work from home on a case by case basis.
  • 6% were encouraging employees to work from home in hot spots.

As we’ve come to see, remote workers have different needs than office workers. Their employee experience is different, and they need unique systems and programs to support them even if this is a temporary period, such as the one that has been forced upon many employers due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They need the right office set-up to perform their jobs, but within the confines of their home. They can’t walk down the hall to a colleague’s desk to ask a question, so they need tools that enable communication. Since remote employees will not physically come into an office, so they need to know when they’re expected to be available virtually.

Setting Up a Remote Working Relationship

To set up a remote working relationship with employees, consider the following:

  • Utilize a webcam whenever possible so there is some personal contact
  • Discuss at home set up with the employee
  • Review success metrics
  • Provide regular feedback on what’s working, items for improvement
  • Keep to a regular schedule; be on time and avoid meeting cancelations
  • Schedule more team meetings and collaboration while also encouraging one-on-one interaction
  • Isolation of the remote employee can inhibit a feeling of trust toward the supervisor; it’s the supervisor’s job to instill processes that help to build/support that trust

Click here to read the presentation, Tips and Checklists For Managing Newly Remote Workers in its entirety.

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