Is WFH the new normal?
We have all adjusted to working from home due to lockdown restrictions but has this now paved the way for a new way of working post Covid?
I am a strong believer that everyone is different, some people found the commute, open working spaces and rigid working patters suffocating whereas others need to build a sense of community, creativity and comradery in person and miss the *cough* 9-5 structure of the working day.
However, I have also heard managers asking:
But how do I know that my staff are being productive? They could be watching Netflix!
This hit a nerve with me, surely if you are a strong manager you know and support your staff and as part of this you trust them to manage their tasks and home lives accordingly? Without this flexibility, your staff will feel the pressure to perform and to evidence every task that they complete. With this trust comes the opportunity for your staff to respect you as a person rather than a 'manager' and they appreciate that you also trust them.
I would argue that during the last year (WFH) I have been more productive than ever before and I don't believe that that increase is purely down to a larger workload during the pandemic. I have invested more time in my work but I am also more eager to learn new skills, to support others and more understanding if a co-worker needs to tend to a child, dog or Amazon delivery.
We all have responsibilities and interests aside from work, if your staff can work from home then give them the trust to do so, you might be surprised by the results!
Plus, think of all the office overhead costs you will be saving
Top tips for managing a team remotely;
1) Use an online planner app like Microsoft lists or Monday.com to allow your team to update you on their progress without feeling hassled
2) Ask your team to feed back on suitable times for ‘virtual catch ups’ this includes everything from social coffee mornings to 1:1 meetings
3) Share positivity! Find a time in the week to focus on small wins or marginal gains to help the team to feel motivated
4) Be flexible! Lockdown has added additional stress to our lives from the anxiety of the unknown to the loss of loved ones, allow your team to be flexible with their hours and to be open about challenges (I am a strong believer in clocking off early on a Friday)!
5) Focus on well-being! Encourage your team to be honest with you and be honest with them. It is not a sign of weakness to let them know that you have your own struggles or worries, we are human after all. This also builds a stronger working relationship of respect rather than fear or hierarchy
6) Remember that your staff have their own personal lives as well which includes everything from troublesome house mates, childcare issues, home deliveries and mounting bills. Be understanding and trust them to manage their time working from home accordingly
7) Review workloads. It’s okay to take a step back and to review workloads and targets regularly. Targets cannot be sustained in the same way that they could pre-pandemic, the world has changed and so have we.
8) Try using Calendly or Microsoft Bookings to allow external contacts or internal staff to book in online meetings based or your teams availability.