Admit it. If you’re a manager of telecommuting employees, you’ve had momentary lapses when you wonder if they’re scarfing Doritos in front of a “Law and Order” rerun. But seriously, telecommuting is a new norm that many are learning to adjust to as managers and workers. With that in mind, we’re sharing a few tips for managers moving forward.
Put it in writing. For many businesses, telecommuting was put into place on the fly to keep operations running at the start of the pandemic. Whether your employees are telecommuting five days or on a hybrid basis, you’ll want to execute an agreement that spells out expectations. Don’t wait for a problem to do this. Be specific in terms of hours and working conditions and plan to review the document annually. It’s best that everyone is on the same page.
Trust your employees. If the job is getting done, relax. Yes, telecommuting means less facetime. Your priority as a manager should be ensuring that work continues to be done at a high standard. This will be especially tough for micromanagers, so if that’s your style, you’re going to have to loosen the reins. Remember, happy employees are productive employees.
Communicate with the most effective tools. Of course, you will establish a way to connect with your remote team. Technology has never made that easier, but make sure you’re using it efficiently. If a phone call would suffice before, there’s no reason to switch to a Zoom meeting just for the sake of doing so. Find the best way that works for you and your team to stay connected throughout the day.
Review security concerns. You might not work for the Department of Defense, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have data worth protecting. Your business almost certainly contains information about your customers that you don’t want compromised. Consult with your IT department or a cyber security professional about the best way to protect information when you have employees working from home. Don’t wait until a breach occurs to take action.
Continue to collaborate. If gathering all of your employees together for brainstorming and team meetings is important to your work environment, continue to do so. (Likewise, if you never held meetings before, you don’t have to start just because everyone is telecommuting.) Consider other ways to engage over Zoom, too, such as informal Friday lunches with the team.
Bonus tip: Remember to respect the schedule you’ve outlined with your employees. Many employees go overboard when they work from home, blurring the lines between their work day and off time. Make sure you’re not texting your employees about something that can be handled just fine in the morning during traditional working hours.