The current COVID 19 pandemic has changed everything in our personal and professional life. Before, working from home used to be once in a while based on our necessity, now working from home has become our daily routine. In the beginning when the governor of the state of Connecticut (CT) announced an emergency order to work from home, I was not sure how we will be able to manage things if this lockdown goes for a longer period. But with the time and situation, I am going with the flow as everyone does. Throughout this period, what I have realized is, if we utilize the same time and effort, it does not make a big difference whether we work from the office or home. The only difference is, we will not have face to face interaction with our team members. Apart from that, with today’s technology, we can make things work out and be fruitful in the same manner as working from the office location. In some cases, I believe we are more effective and efficient working from home because we save time and money, not having to commute to work.
We all know this is not an end and we will have a normal life like before, where we will work based on our scheduled hours, meet friends and family, and will continue to have a social gathering like before. This is only about a matter of time and this is the time where we have to be very cautious without taking things lightly. This outbreak has taught us a lot and made us realize that anything can happen at any time. We cannot predict things and think it will not happen to us. It can happen to anyone of us if we fail to follow proper precautions.
Sometimes managing things might be challenging, especially if we are not used to working remotely for a longer period. But if we can manage things by giving our 100% effort, overcoming those challenges is always possible. Based on my experience, here I am sharing a few tips about how we can continue a healthy working environment with our team when working remotely
Arranging weekly video call meetings with employees helps to continue and maintain the employer-employee collaboration. A virtual meeting also helps to maintain a strong bond between employer and employee. If we prepare some agenda about what to discuss during a weekly meeting ahead of time, meetings are more productive. Discussing with employees about how they are doing and if there is anything we as an employer or manager can help them with, this will always open up the conversation. A weekly meeting can also help employers and employees to stay up to date with ongoing work or any changes within an organization. If needed, weekly meetings can be changed to a daily meeting based on necessity.
Communication is really important in any kind of relationship whether it is personal or professional. Lack of communication can create misunderstanding between employer and employee, so, communicating with the employer about what we are doing and how things are progressing, can help the employer to understand that employee is working and putting their full effort. Whenever needed, add your supervisor or manager in the email chain you are sending to clients. You can bcc your employer, where you think is appropriate. This will always make the employer aware of your day to day tasks. If you have a trend of submitting the weekly status report by outlining the whole week's tasks, continue to do so while implementing the process of looping employer in the email.
If we start following the same working schedule and maintain that process, either we work remotely or work from an office, it will not make a big difference. Maintaining office hours and break times will also help to meet the deadline for any assigned task or projects. Make your to-do list for a whole week and follow that list. This will help to catch up on things on time. Once a task is completed, make sure to cross off the completed task. This way, you will not have to keep remembering what you already did and what you have to do.
Feel like you are working from the office and create that positive office environment at your home when working remotely and stick to it. This gives us positive energy and will always help us to continue to work without any distractions. Motivate yourself when needed and utilize as much time as you would in the office. Do not hesitate to take a coffee break for ten minutes when needed to freshen up your mind and body.
When working from home, if you feel like dressing up, go for it! There is no rule as such which says you cannot dress up and prepare yourself to look professional while working remotely/home. If dressing up and preparing yourself in business attire motivates you and helps you to complete the task on time, you should do it without hesitation. Create your workstation whether it is your kitchen dining table, living room, or any other room, wherever you feel designated and motivated.
In today’s world, nobody likes to be micromanaged. Trust is the major key to motivate employees. When an employer shows trust, things can turn around in a very positive way. If the employer starts micromanaging employees thinking while working from home, employees will not give 100% of their effort, employees will never be motivated to do better. The only way to do better and work as a team is by starting to trust our employees by showing them that we do care. Do not micromanage when not needed and appreciate employees for their hard work and effort on a regular basis. Appreciation is not always tied to finance. It can be any form like thank you emails, phone calls, etc.
The same thing applies to employees. Employees should also show that even if we are working remotely, we are working with the same motivation and with the same effort as in the office. When your employer has given you flexibility and assigned you a task with full confidence, never break employer trust, and put the same effort that you put while working in the office.
July 29, 2020