5 Tips For Managing Employees During Virtual Work Hours
For the last year many businesses have had to adjust their operating model. This has often meant that instead of having employees working in a central space, many employees are now working virtually from home. Here are five tips for managing employees during virtual work hours.
Set clear expectations. The first tip is to set extremely clear expectations for every member of your team. Rather than make assumptions about how virtual work hours should or will go, take the time to set expectations for this time. This might include setting expectations for email turnaround time or work hours. These expectations can take into account that there might need to be some flexibility with the specifics of when each person is working, as long as it fits within the expectations set out for the team.
Communicate. When your team is all working together in a common space it is easy to pop over to someone’s office with a message or a check-in. When everyone is working from home it can be more difficult to stay in communication. Make sure you are clearly communicating expectations, project requirements, and leaving communication pathways open for concerns. Instead of waiting until a crisis emerges, be sure to check in with your employees regularly during their virtual work hours.
Implement communication systems. There are a number of digital team communication and project management tools (i.e. Slack, Asana, Trello) that you can use to stay in touch with your employees during virtual work hours. There are advantages and disadvantages to each tool, so take time to evaluate each of the tools. Consider how each system would meet the needs of your employees.
Regular check-ins. Schedule a recurring event for your employees as a touch point. Depending on the needs of your team, you might consider a daily morning check-in to get everyone on the same page for the day and have each team member share their priorities for the day. You also might also consider a weekly project check-in where the team can problem solve, ask questions, and get progress updates.
Boost morale. Since you are not leading the team in person this is an opportunity to be creative with how you boost morale for your team. If you typically bought lunch for the team once a month or once a quarter, continue that tradition. While you aren’t all gathered in the same room enjoying lunch together you can arrange for food to be delivered with various food delivery services.