CoAdvantage- Over the past year, we’ve written extensively on how remote working affects the workforce (including productivity) and how employers can get the most of this approach. We’ve answered questions like how to manage workers who are bad at remote working, how to keep morale and engagement high, and how managers specifically should approach remote working.
Even if many workers return to the office as the pandemic eases over 2021 (hopefully!), a hybrid solution where employees sometimes work from home and sometimes come into the office is likely to emerge. It’s more important than ever to ensure workers can be successful remotely.
Availability and accessibility are key.
It’s critical to find ways to enable, facilitate, and optimize communication and collaboration when workers aren’t physically available to each other. Use project management and communication tools that enable remote workers to fire up chats and even video meetings instantly. For managers in particular, never criticize or shrug off employees trying to engage you; you’ll just teach them not to engage. As Inc. writes, “Remember, you live in a high-tech world, but leadership is still a high-touch job.” If now isn’t a good time to interact, schedule a specific time later in the day or tomorrow.
But it’s also important to minimize unnecessary distractions.
While availability and accessibility are foundational to remote productivity, they must be tempered. Consider exempting certain days or times from any meetings to ensure workers have opportunities for uninterrupted work. Permit workers to refuse chats when they need to focus on the work in front of them, especially if the chat or meeting request is relatively low priority.
Formalize project management tools and processes.
Keeping everyone on the same page with tasks and projects is another challenge. If you’ve relied on physical proximity to substitute for the formal organization of projects in the past, it might be helpful to begin training workers on specific project management methodologies (e.g., Agile or Six Sigma approaches) and use tools that facilitate those tactics. Make liberal use of goals, milestones, and benchmarks to help workers stay on track.
Keep labor laws in mind.
Without clear boundaries between home and workspaces and hours, it can be easy for employers and employees to inadvertently violate provisions in labor laws like the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Prohibit overtime unless it has been approved (to avoid violating wage-and-hour regulations).
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.