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Navigating remote employees during the Covid-19 outbreak

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Sashi Kumar - Managing Director, Indeed India

08-Apr-2020

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With many companies adopting a remote work policy to keep employees safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19, how can employers keep remote team mates just as involved as those who work on-site? From communication to recognition, here are some tips for including remote employees effectively.

Companies have adopted a remote work policy to keep employees safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19. Data from Indeed indicates that job seekers across the country are showing greater interest in working remotely amid the current crisis. Searches for remote work have increased by over 261% as a share of all searches on Indeed India since February 2020. 

 

 With many companies adopting a remote work policy to keep employees safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19, how can employers keep remote team mates just as involved as those who work on-site? From communication to recognition, here are some tips for including remote employees effectively.

 

Make your communications frequent, supportive and transparent

 

Daily routines have changed, making everyone’s remote work experience different. Empathy is crucial here. Some people have private spaces and are accustomed to working this way; some have children and are juggling responsibilities; while others may be struggling with feelings of isolation. The situation is complicated and constantly evolving and people will respond to the pressures and challenges differently. That’s why it’s important to show understanding — and maintaining clear communications, transparency and flexibility with your employees can go a long way to helping people know that you are there and support them.

 

Establish a remote management team

 

To work effectively at home, employees need direction and feedback from managers and team leaders. Identify key people who will be responsible for leading and supporting different processes of your business so employees know who they should report to. For instance, consider establishing a management team in charge of project development, quality assurance, and other processes within the workflow of your business’s operations.

 

Form a plan for communication

 

Effective communication is crucial to transitioning to remote work, so it’s important to establish a plan for regular contact. Consider instituting weekly team meetings through an online conferencing platform to stay updated on progress. Similarly, daily emails with essential updates regarding completed projects, new project development and other tasks can help you keep employees informed.

 

Manage meetings

 

Although technology allows remote employees to attend meetings from any location, it can be challenging. Acoustics in meeting rooms can be weak or muffled, and even a slight delay can result in on- and off-site workers talking over one another. To avoid disengagement, make an agenda and share materials ahead of time.

 

Recording calls can help ensure remote teammates are still part of the discussion when technology is inconsistent or calls drop. And don’t forget to solicit feedback and participation from those who are remote, just as you do with those in the meeting room.

 

Make 1:1 time

 

Without a physical presence in the office, remote team mates may get overlooked in daily team and project updates. What’s more, they miss out on casual hallway conversations, office amenities and company events. Despite an abundance of chat, email and videoconferencing technologies, communication and collaboration is still a big struggle. Schedule video calls and weekly one-on-one meetings to get maximum face time with those who are off-site. Create time for informal conversation, as well.

 

Find opportunities for recognition

 

Just like on-site employees, remote staff wants appreciation and recognition for their work. Acknowledge the accomplishments of employees in front of their peers, whether it’s a shout-out in a team meeting or a formal email praising a project they completed. Whatever form of acknowledgment you choose, expressing your gratitude for their contributions lets remote employees know their work is meaningful.

 

With more people choosing to work remotely, it’s important for employers to adapt and adjust to the communication needs of these out-of-office workers. Making time for long-distance socializing, enforcing inclusive communication policies and actively recognizing remote teammates for their accomplishments are important ways to keep those who are out of sight top of mind.