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An HR’s Guide to Manage Remote Working

Updated on August 19, 2020

No wonder a huge number of organizations are now working remotely in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not just employees but businesses as well are trying to become resilient to this new normal.

For most employees, this sudden transition to remote work culture may be new and challenging to adapt. HR leaders play a vital role here in guiding employees and establishing the right expectations to continue running business operations smoothly.

Setting up work from home policies is the most likely thing that you would do as an HR leader. But with these rapidly changing circumstances, it may not work out in the organizations favor if the shift-to-virtual workforce does not feel engaged. Research suggests that you can engage and build a productive remote workforce through continually staying connected to them and following a set of best practices relevant to the organization.

Prevailing Challenges On The Way:

To initiate and make this transition effortless, as an HR leader, you need to be able to first forecast and identify the hurdles you may encounter in this process. If you take action before you analyze and understand the situation well, it may sometimes adversely affect employee morale. Here are some of the most common challenges you may come across while trying to build a vibrant remote workforce:

Low Employee Morale Due to Social Isolation

Your employees were addicted to the busy and interactive environment at the workplace, and this isolation might make them feel lonely and left out. This is the time when your employees are highly vulnerable to feeling depressed if you do not keep them connected to co-workers and the company. And if this lasts forever, it may reduce employee morale and motivate them to make the wrong decisions or be less productive at work.

Reduced Face-to-face Interactions

Lack of face-to-face interactions between your employees and their managers is a matter of great concern. While employees should be self-sufficient when it comes to their day-to-day responsibilities, it is also critical that they are provided with appropriate support and guidance whenever required. Due to this drastic change in the work culture, your employees feel that they have reduced access to their peers or managers.

Connecting to Co-workers

During this work from the home phase, your employees may find it hard to get answers even for the simplest of questions. This may be because of odd shift timings, different break intervals, or just a network issue. The scenario at the workplace was quite different, as they could have instantly reached out to the concerned people. Also, you never know if your employee or co-worker is going through an unfortunate situation or is stuck with the problem. At the workplace, it was much more comfortable than this!

Disturbances at Home

Not just work dynamics, but the kind of distractions too vary when you transition to the home environment to set up your workstation. Generally, work from home or remote work comes with a particular set of personal responsibilities as well. And now, with this forced intrusion of work into employees' families, you should be expecting these distractions to be more frequent considering the current dynamics across the world.

Overcoming The Challenges and Managing Remote Employees Effectively:

Although remote work has a long list of challenges, some alternatives will help you to normalize the situation and make this transition effortless. We have compiled some of the best tips to take some burden off your shoulders:

Keep Looking If There Are Any Signs of Distress

Make use of all the available tools and techniques to ensure that your employees are not facing any challenges. Ensure that you are always available for any help and support. This will generally make your employees feel included and cared for.

You can also consider educating your managers on effectively hand-holding employees in sensitive situations or subjects and facilitating proper guidance.

Ensure You Cater to Their Needs

This is the essential aspect of remote work! Check if your employees have the right tools and technology to access data and continue working efficiently. Whether it's the necessary work from home equipment like a laptop, internet connection, etc. or the required tool permissions, please don't wait till they reach out to you.

Carry out a general tool check to ensure that none of your employees is falling short of resources to complete his/her work.

Encourage Conversations

Communication is considered to be a magical solution to every problem! Facilitate the free flow of communication between your managers and the employees. Please encourage them to have regular connections through one-on-ones, daily huddles, weekly meetings, and so on, to continually stay in touch and make sure that employees are not burdened with work.

Don't Forget to Value Their Efforts!

As everyone is going through a rough phase, it is evident that some good and kind words can cheer up the day. The same goes for employees as well! During this unprecedented time, make sure that your managers recognize the effort put in by employees in doing their job right. Remember, remote working was not a choice given to them but has been imposed on them owing to circumstances.

Bottom Line:

It's time to stay aware of the fact that remote working is the new normal and take the necessary action to keep employees connected to the organization. Businesses should start accepting this culture and understand that it's right now the best choice for the safety and security of employees.

What you as an HR should do is, concentrate on building a healthy and productive remote culture for your employees, making the transition easier on them. When your employees are happy and comfortable, you will be able to generate better outcomes and continue growing your business consistently.


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