Challenges and Solutions for Managers and Staff When Working Remote

COVID-19, the novel coronavirus of 2019, is affecting nearly every country and almost every industry. Whether your company has most employees working at home, or every employee doing remote work, you need to know how to manage your staff during the quarantine.

Motivation

Quarantine is challenging for every person stuck at home and working remotely. No one is immune to the stress of isolation and social distancing, which means you might start noticing that your staff is losing motivation and meeting goals slower than usual. You can begin to combat their anxieties, stress, and lack of motivation today by checking in with each team member daily. Make sure that you thank them for their continued efforts under these trying times. You can use a text messenger like Slack or a video conference like Zoom to contact each employee daily and make them feel appreciated.

When issues arise between you and a staff member, or between two employees, make sure the people involved have the chance to air their grievances over a video conference instead of a text messenger. Text messages lack context, tone of voice, and nonverbal communication. Your employees might become confused, frustrated, or angered by a text message. Try to use a video conference to communicate all the important information.

Remote work is necessary right now, but it is also incredibly isolating. No one knows for sure when COVID-19 will peak and start waning, allowing your staff to go back to the office. Make sure you check in with your team to learn how they’re doing with their workload and their stress. Remind your employees that despite how it seems right now, this is a temporary situation. Let everyone know that it’s OK and recommended to take regular breaks to get food, go for a quick walk, and focus on something other than COVID-19 for a few minutes.

Your team members also need comfortable workspaces. Have your staff set up ergonomic work areas? They also need to stand up and stretch for one or two minutes once an hour. You don’t want anyone spending their workday hunched over their kitchen table.

Access to Company Systems

Your team has very little access to equipment, technology, and company systems that they didn’t bring home with them when quarantine started. With less access than they’re used to, your staff might struggle to meet their daily and weekly goals. Whenever possible, supplement their access with other programs or technologies. Any item or guidance you can provide remotely can help ease your staff’s burdens and overall stress levels.

You must adapt to the new situation early, especially if someone is missing an essential item. Find new ways to connect your employees with what they need to be successful during the quarantine. By the way, we offer a great integration possibility with MS Teams and Salesforce, so no need to use a lot of tools separately, now you can make calls right from the familiar interface of the management tool you are using.

Control and Oversight

It might be tempting to micromanage your staff, but it is never recommended. You’ll drive yourself and your team crazy by trying to manage everyone’s work while you’re remote. Instead of focusing on what your employees are or aren’t doing every minute of the day, set clear goals and guidelines at the start of every week and make sure each team member’s tasks and deadlines are communicated daily.

Make sure your feedback loop is intact and healthy. During quarantine, a constant feedback loop is your best way to stay in touch with what is working and what is not. Your staff might be more hesitant than average to give you the feedback you need, so they need to understand you are open to any information. Ask what more you can do to help and whether they know their objectives. When you provide feedback, be quick and concise and only deliver feedback over a video conference, never a text messenger. Verbal feedback is more powerful and doesn’t leave wiggle room for interpretation.

Communication and Collaboration

You should layout your management game plan early on and then shift your attention to how you’ll stay connected with your team while everyone is working from home. Work on implementing a daily morning meeting with the entire team or individual sessions throughout the day to make sure everyone is on the same page. You don’t always need a video conference unless you’re communicating important information. A text messenger can effectively transmit everyone’s’ tasks for the day.

Set up a chat channel if you have software like Slack. Slack can connect your entire team and make it easier to ask questions and get quick answers. A chat channel also allows you to put out the main objectives for the day and get immediate feedback. 

Some employees are more open when they can see each other’s faces. If this is the case for your staff, consider opening a day-long video chat channel. Team members can pop in and out of the channel during the day and get the information they need quickly. They can also inform the team on problems they encountered and receive ideas on fixing them.