With the COVID-19 pandemic prompting stay-at-home orders, millions of employees had to work from home.
During this time of uncertainty, employees found it hard to establish a work-life balance. For many, their productivity plummeted due to the thousands of distractions remote workers face when families are ordered to stay home.
Yet, since the stay-at-home orders have lifted, people started preferring remote work because they found it enjoyable. In fact, one study revealed that 68% of Americans rather prefer to work at home than in the office. And many organizations found that the hybrid-office style works well for their business and employees.
However, many businesses are still transitioning to the remote-work model. They’re learning how to manage teams that work from home. Therefore, they need to find ways to help support remote workers in the best ways possible.
If your business manages remote teams, here are the top ways to set up your employees for success.
One of the best ways to support a remote team is to set boundaries and company rules to follow. As your team works from home, let them know what you expect from them.
You can create company guidelines in the form of:
Like a traditional office space, you have to keep employees up-to-date on policies and staff changes.
Another best practice to support remote teams is modeling work activities during working hours. Remember, the hours may vary based on workers’ time zones. So, be sure to set expectations to communicate team updates effectively with this in mind.
As a small-business owner learning how to support remote team members, ensure to offer helpful resources so they can handle tasks more efficiently. Consider conducting virtual training via eLearning courses for newcomers to help them transition to a remote work environment and increase productivity.
Other essential resources for supporting remote workers include:
When running a business online, equipping your workers with these resources will be invaluable tools to set them up for success.
Collaboration tools are crucial for helping your team communicate, share project files and manage tasks effectively. Consider providing your remote employees with team-collaboration tools to work on projects together successfully.
For example, Trello is a great place to manage projects and keep track of your team’s workflow. Many online businesses also use Slack to streamline workplace communication and project updates. In addition, Google Drive is an excellent platform for sharing work documents and project notes and easing team communication.
Whichever tools you choose for your remote teams, be sure everyone uses the same ones. It will help to avoid any misunderstandings during a time for team collaboration.
No matter how distant your remote employees are, social interaction is important for employee engagement.
You could consider hosting virtual parties, brainstorming sessions, welcome sessions, and online hangouts to build positive workplace relationships. However, supporting remote team interaction means creating a time and space for workers to connect. Doing so encourages employees to engage with each other, makes teamwork effortless, and enables them to help each other.
Keep in mind that every team member has a different working environment. They may have young children and a spouse at home or live by themselves. Some remote employees have a home office, while others might work in their backyard, living room, or at a coffee shop.
It’s important to understand everything from their perspectives. Therefore, you must be flexible and empathetic to their situations.
For instance — if your team members are ill or are managing a life crisis, you’ll have to be understanding of their circumstances. When you show that you’re human, it shows that you care and makes your employees feel at ease.
Overall, it helps to be supportive by acknowledging stress, adaptability, and work-from-home distractions. You can succeed in this by exercising flexibility while managing a remote team.
The best team managers are the ones who provide mentorship to their employees. In addition, they don’t just manage them, but they lead by example.
While it’s critical to establish rules and uphold disciplinary standards, your team members should see you as approachable.
Establish yourself as a leader by guiding your team and incorporating other leadership qualities, such as:
According to an analysis by NSC and NORC at the University of Chicago, employees experiencing mental health issues costs organizations over $15,000 annually. However, when employers invest in mental health treatment, they’ll see a $4 return on investment for every dollar spent.
As an employer, mental health should be of the utmost concern for your employees. That way, they deliver better results because they’ll have sound health. Plus, they’ll feel more supported by you.
The levels of tolerance will vary between each business. However, it helps to take adaptability into account when supporting remote employees.
Some workers may have an easier time adapting to remote work, guidelines, and regulations. Meanwhile, others may need more time to get accustomed to their working environment.
If they need more time to adjust, they could be dealing with mental health concerns while continuing to work under pressure. Eventually, it can take a toll on them physically.
Therefore, you should consider advocating for mental health support by:
Leading a team in a new environment takes lots of patience and perseverance. However, following these best practices will support your team and set them up successfully.
Remember, remote work is a different atmosphere. So, you’ll need to consider certain factors to establish a productive work environment.
Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design, and/or tea on LinkedIn or Twitter!