Change is inevitable, and the pandemic introduced enterprises to a series of amendments that has positively impacted their working patterns in the current times. The #new normal introduced us to the concept of #WFH (Work From Home), and later, as we started graduating towards the ‘Unlock mode’, enterprises including ours, have switched to the hybrid working model where the workforce works out of the office, at least for certain days of the week. While the team is at office, things seem under control, but mentoring a remote workplace can prove challenging if we do not keep certain tips in mind. Here are some decisions that we took that helped us streamline mentoring in a hybrid and remote work environment:
Enforcing Disciplinary Practices
Both Managers and employees must agree on designated working hours. This will ensure that the assigned tasks are delivered within the agreed time frame, and team members are not overworked. Managers can maintain this by introducing technology based attendance capturing applications like ‘Work Time’. Such applications work for most organizations. While some enterprises and managers monitor and take this activity very seriously, others employ even more complex applications ensure automated notifications and reports of the logins and logout timings of the team members.
We are in an age where multi-tasking is trending. However, if a team member maintains discipline and sticks to organizational tasks in the time frame allocated that is promised, there wont be any need to micromanage such employees on a daily basis.
‘Home is where the heart is, and it is easy to call it a day once you hit in the comfort of your own home. Hence working from home could prove to be tricky. However, when working remotely, it is quintessential to maintain a disciplinary regime. Team members must be mindful about spending a large part of the day in front of the laptop/desktop screens while managers also need to ensure that professional decorum and etiquettes are maintained. It is essential to be presentable. Smart casuals teamed with a little extra comfort will do just fine. Formal wear also ensure that you feel professional and take your tasks more seriously.
Managers must regularly connect with team members via virtual team meetings to catch up and keep tabs on what is going on at the member levels. During the lock-down, we were introduced to an array of video calling platforms such as Zoom, Teams, Duo, and more. These applications are also used to organize virtual events and webinars.
A Team member’s work infrastructure would typically demand that he/she works in a quiet place, out of a separate room, on a comfortable table and chair. Team members must deter working on the bed, as it could foster a laid-back attitude towards work. In most metros, everyone does face space constraints. Hence, team members must draw working boundaries to ensure continuity in working day. Effective time management does come in handy for both managers and team members. One can attend to chores while on a break or after hours at both managerial and executive levels.
While working in the office, it is easy to summon the IT team if stuck on tech issues. While working at home, it is necessary to maintain robust technology, and there should be access to a seamless internet connection to ensure smooth work throughout work timings. Devices should be well-equipped to be able to multi-task Even while working from remote locations, managers must ensure that the team is equipped with good resource, infrastructure and proper internet facilities.
While working from home, teams could encounter gaps in communication. This could give rise to several issues among team members, and could prove to be unhealthy for organizational advancement. For instance, lack of communication could give rise to a series of unfinished or ill-managed tasks. It could also disturb the working pattern of other teams. Hence, it is essential for teams to stay in touch with Managers, seniors, and other team members using any media of communication ranging from calls to video calls and messaging regularly. Loop them in by directing work-related conversations in writing using apps such as WhatsApp or Gmail. Groups on WhatsApp are the most effective way of keeping in touch with teams and team managers. Segmenting communication effectively so that the communication is not flowing all over the place is also equally important.
Other ways of Keeping in Touch
Managers must regularly connect with team members via virtual team meetings to catch up and keep tabs on what is going on at the member levels. During the lock-down, we were introduced to an array of video calling platforms such as Zoom, Teams, Duo, and more. These applications are also used to organize virtual events and webinars. These meetings present managers and team members, the opportunity of socializing and can help anyone get a bird’s eye view of what is happening at the organization level and below.
Project Management Applications
Project Management applications/Task Managers are the most effective way of organizing daily tasks. Managers can enlist and delegate/assign the tasks to team members, and team members can collaborate accordingly to complete the task in the listed time frame. Some of the more popular applications used today are Trello and Asana. Project Management applications have been thoughtfully designed to keep managers and their teams in the loop. Team members can enlist their progress on assigned tasks, and receive queries concerning the assigned tasks, and get them answered on the same thread. Managers can assist if any problems arise, as notifications concerning the assigned task can pop on the device of choice. Project Management applications work seamlessly across devices and are easy to manage through simple mobile apps on any smartphone.
While this is just the tip of the ice-berg, even to manage teams online it is essential for the HR heads to be equipped with the necessary requisites to make remote working spaces conducive to organizational profitability. Investing a little trust and fostering a friendly environment will ensure that all the wheels in the cog are functioning smoothly, even while working remotely.