COVID-19 has forced most of the office workforce into working remotely.
But even before this pandemic, there was a steady increase in people choosing to work from home. Subsequently, many organisations already had flexible work models at hand. What they proved, is that with the right approach remote working can be a productive and engaging time for employees. It is all about laying the groundwork and following through. With the following tips, you can provide the support employees need to tackle the emotional difficulties of the current world crisis.
Continue one-on-one and team meetings
Isolation can make people feel alone, disengaged and unfocused. Therefore, it is important to continue one-on-ones with remote employees. Virtual one-on-ones create a sense of structure and normality. They also provide you with the chance to check in with staff. Continue to bring people together weekly in virtual team meetings as well. Virtual team meetings are an opportunity for employees to set and share individual and team progress and celebrate achievements. It can also be a time for casual team chats, which promotes togetherness and team cohesion.
Watch for signs of distress and promote two-way dialogue
It is vitally important that you keep an eye out for distress in employees who are working remotely. By observing individuals and encouraging two-way dialogue, you can gain insight into the challenges and concerns of an employee. This insight can help you to identify any individuals that may be struggling emotionally, so you can ensure they have the help they need. Two-way dialogue can also provide employees with the information and perspective that they might need to help themselves. It also enables them to express and process negative emotions and feel more in control. And offers you the chance to reassure employees that you support them and care about their well-being.
Trust in your employees
The best thing you can do in this current climate is to have trust and confidence in your employees to do the right thing. Which they will if you provide a supportive, remote working environment. And while you may be concerned about losing the constant visibility you once had with employees, you must resist the urge to micromanage. That will only disengage and stress already anxious employees. The key is to not fixate on perceived performance problems. Instead, focus on the things employees are doing well.
Focus on good and bad performers
Performance management is ongoing. However, 80% of a leader’s time is dedicated to improving the performance of a poor performer. This means that they often leave high performers to their own devices. But even good performers can benefit from a bit of coaching and counselling by their leader. For people to perform at their best, they need to know what their leader expects of them. But if you’re not spending any time with your high performers, then they won’t know what you want or need from them. Feedback can help with performance improvement, even for good performers, but only if it is delivered in the right way. As such, you need a targeted coaching approach for both poor and high performers.
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