How managers can support remote employees

As long as remote work is full of challenges, there are also relatively quick and inexpensive things that managers can do to facilitate the transition. Steps you can take today:

1.Establish structured daily check-ins: 

Most successful remote managers set up a daily call with their remote employees. If your employees are more independent from each other, or if their work is more collaborative, this can be in the form of a series of calls to each other. An important feature is that the forum lets employees know that calls are regular and able, and that they can communicate with you, and that their concerns and questions are heard.

2. Offer many different communication technology options: 

Email alone is not enough. Remote workers benefit from having "rich" technology such as videoconferencing, which gives participants the many visual cues they would have if face to face. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for small groups: Visual queues allow "mutual knowledge" about colleagues to grow, and can also help reduce feelings of loneliness between teams. Video is particularly useful for complicated or sensitive conversations because it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.
There are other situations when quick collaboration is more important than visual detail. For these situations, provide mobile-enabled personal messaging functionality (Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) that can be used for simpler, less formal communication, and time-sensitive communication.

If your company does not already have the technical tools, there are inexpensive ways to get simple versions of these tools into a short-term solution for your team. Before using any of these tools, contact your organization's IT department to ensure there is adequate data security.

3.Establish “engagement rules”: 

Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and flexible timing of communication for their teams. For example, "We use video conferencing for daily check-in meetings, but we also use IM when there is an emergency." Also, if you can, inform your employees of the best way and time to reach you during the workday (eg, "I am available late in the day for a temporary phone or video conversation, but during an emergency, the day, send me a text.") Finally, the team On communication between members (to the extent appropriate), make sure they share the information as needed.

At the first online check-in meeting, we recommend that managers establish these "engagement rules" with employees as soon as possible. While some choices about specific expectations may be better than others, the most important aspect is that all employees share the same expectations for communication.

4.Establish remote social interaction: 

One of the most important steps a manager can take is to create ways for employees to interact socially (ie, have informal conversations about non-work content) while working remotely. This applies to all remote workers, but especially to workers who are suddenly transitioning from office.

The easiest way to establish some basic social interaction is to set aside some time at the beginning of team calls for non-functional items (eg, "We meet each other for the first few minutes. How's your weekend?") 

5.Provide Encouragement and Emotional Support: 

It is important for managers to recognize stress, listen to employees' concerns and concerns, and empathize with their struggles, especially in the event of a sudden turn to remote work. If the new remote employee is clearly struggling and does not report stress or anxiety, ask them how they are doing. "How are you managing remote work?" Even a simple question like. You may find important information that you don't hear. After you ask the question, listen carefully to the response and return it to the employee briefly to make sure you understand it correctly. Let the stress or concerns of the employee (other than your own) be the focus of this conversation.

A study on emotional intelligence has shown that employees depend on managers for suggestions on how to respond to sudden changes or crisis situations. If the manager acknowledges stress and helplessness, this is what Daniel Coleman calls the "trickle-down" effect on employees. Effective leaders acknowledge the stressful situations employees work in. With this support, employees are more likely to be challenged and focused.
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