As offices are starting to reopen, many companies are still considering allowing employees to work remotely. A recent Gartner poll showed that 90% of HR executives said their employees would be allowed to work remotely after the COVID-19 vaccines are available. What are some HR tips for managing ongoing remote employees?
Though most of us have been working remotely for a year, not every organization treated the situation as it was going to be permanent. According to Brian Kropp, Distinguished Vice President, Research at Gartner, “At most organizations, scenario planning focuses on the necessary operational responses to ensure business continuity. Few of these plans address the ability or bandwidth of employees to focus on their work.”
When the pandemic hit, few of us had experience working remotely on the scale we are currently experiencing. According to Gartner, HR leaders need to continue to make sure their employees feel supported to be productive and engaged. Below are tips to help you better serve your remote employees.
- Be on the lookout for signs of distress with your employees
Make sure communication is consistent, transparent, and open. Also, monitor any changes in behavior to make sure employees know that they are valued and can reach out with any concerns at any time. Listen to any concerns and be willing to work with them to maintain engagement.
- Equip employees
Whether it’s proper devices for virtual communications or a comfort level with remote communications, acknowledge that remote communications may vary, but handle them professionally.
- Promote dialogue
According to Gartner’s research, employees’ understanding of organizations’ decisions during change is critical for a successful change initiative. Back and forth communication helps employees process the information and provides them with perspective.
- Trust your employees
“The best thing you can do as a manager right now is to suspend your disbelief and put utmost trust and confidence in your employees that they will do the right thing — which they will if employers provide a supportive structure,” says Kropp.
- Reinforce organizational values
According to Kropp, “Even before this crisis, employers were increasingly treating employees as key stakeholders. During this crisis, you can show employees that you plan to look out for them for the long haul.”
- Use objectives to create clarity
Without face-to-face communications, we’ve become accustomed to new initiatives rolling out virtually to support change. Roles may be perceived as changing and may leave employees unsure of what they should prioritize. It’s essential to emphasize objectives over the process while improving employee’s confidence.
- Focus on outputs not processes
Remote working brings a variety of new elements into a person’s workspace. Instead of enforcing a nine-to-five mentality, provide employees the space they need to get their work done in productive ways for themselves and the company. Flexibility to “get stuff done” on their terms empowers them to contribute at a high level while improving morale.
- Increase recognition
During disruptive times, recognizing employees helps boost an employee’s confidence while everyone else sees that making contributions does not go unnoticed. Recognition doesn’t have to be financial, it can be positive acknowledgment like a token of appreciation or an opportunity for professional development.
- Encourage innovation
Anytime there is a disruption to standard operating conditions, employees tend to become risk-averse. However, now is the time to reinforce innovative thinking. According to the article, “Make an effort to highlight the value of employees’ continuing to scale their activities, and ensure that any risks are worthwhile.”
To learn more, check out the Gartner article. Or if you have specific questions on hiring, recruiting or other HR needs, let us know how we can help.