Over the past several weeks, it's become apparent that the shift to remote working may be more permanent than many companies realized. What was originally supposed to be two weeks of social distancing has turned into two months. With widespread remote working looking like the new norm, HR teams need to be preparing to institute more long-term human resources solutions. Let's take a look at several tips that HR teams can use to adapt to remote working.
Create a Plan
First and foremost, if your HR team doesn't already have a long-term remote working plan, then you need to create one. This should be a top down overview of the expectations and practices that are expected from employees while they work remotely. This includes who they report to, how often they report, what they're reporting, etc. Creating a detailed plan helps your business create a formalized structure that employees can look to should they have any confusion. Much of this plan should be generated from the data your HR team has gathered over the last two months of remote working. If any major processes have been adjusted or tweaked, this plan should accommodate that and formalize any of these changes for accountability so long as they prove to work. Whatever your plan is, make sure it is written down and distributed widely to ensure employee adoption.
Right now, a lot of your employees are feeling anxious about the state of things. With unemployment rates hitting nearly 15%, many workers are worried whether or not they're going to keep their jobs. Your employees need to be able to look to your company and trust that if they do their jobs they'll be able to keep them. If employees don't have that trust, their productivity will drop and so will your bottom line - something no company can afford during this crisis. That's why your HR team needs to work to build trust with your remote workforce. One of the easiest ways to do that is to be transparent with your employees. If your HR team is updating a policy, be clear about why the change is happening and what they can expect. Whatever you do, your HR team should be looking for different ways that it can build trust with your remote team.
One of the biggest concerns many companies have with working from home is not being able to guarantee employee engagement. With so many distractions in their homes, some employees can find it difficult to invest themselves fully into their work. That's why it's important for your HR team to look for different ways that it can foster employee engagement. An easy way to do this is to require that employees track hours, but it's likely that you're already having them do that. Further, just tracking hours doesn't guarantee any level of work quality. Instead, you need to be looking at ways you can increase engagement on a deeper level. A major component of employee engagement is how invested in a company's overall mission they are. Your HR team needs to look for areas that they can help remote workers take ownership of your business's success and their place in it.
Look for Signs of Stress
69% of employees claim the the coronavirus outbreak has been the most stressful time of their lives. The future is highly uncertain, and some of your employees may be finding that their mounting stress is impacting their health and their work. That's why it's very important that your HR team be on the lookout for ways it can identify and help employees address any anxiety they may have. A good recommendation is to have your HR team check in weekly with your employees. This doesn't have to be extensive, but just a 5-10 minute checkup where you can see how they're doing. Have your HR team focus on paying special attention to how employees are doing during this time. Your workers will appreciate the support and the care that your team is exhibiting toward them which can help them become more engaged and productive.
Without face to face interaction, your employees may be feeling lost and unsure of their place. While check-ins and emails can help provide structure, they may not be receiving the same recognition they were in-office. Without that same recognition, they may lose their motivation and their engagement may end up decreasing. That's why it's important for your HR team to recognize your employees. Provide specific feedback that they can use to improve. This shows your workers that your HR team is paying attention to them and is actively interested in their development. Your HR team focusing on employee recognition is one of the best ways to build their trust and increase their recognition while they are working remotely.
The last several months have been hard on everyone. Employees have adjusted to remote working in different ways. With remote work looking like the new norm for the immediate future, it's important for your HR team to look for ways to adapt to this new world. Take the time to look over the tips we've provided to see how you can adapt them to your company's processes. By doing so, you can build a stable, long-term remote working situation for your company.
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Written by Quentin Russell
Quentin Russell is a Content Specialist with knowledge of Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing.