As Coronavirus Forces Employees to Work from Home, Here’s How to Manage a Remote Workforce

As Coronavirus Forces Employees to Work from Home, Here’s How to Manage a Remote Workforce

Where Are All My Employees? Here’s How to Manage a Remote Workforce

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the workforce is unprecedented. In New York and several other states, government leaders have mandated office closures for all but essential businesses. Even in areas without forced closings, many employees are working from home as employers do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing.

This “new normal” in the work environment requires supervisors and managers to think and act differently when it comes to supporting the needs of their employees, and ensuring that workers are productive and tasks remain on schedule. Here are some helpful tips to effectively manage a remote workforce.

  • Over communicate. It is vital to show employees that you are just as engaged as you would be in the office. From phone calls, emails and texts to opportunities to chat via videoconference, share updated information often to keep everyone on the same page. A daily video stand-up meeting with the entire team is a great way to make sure priorities are being set, work is being done, and tasks are being covered.
  • Maintain relationships. Your employees are likely feeling anxious about the coronavirus outbreak, and stressed about the new realities of working from home. Check in with them on a personal level, ask how they’re feeling, and offer your help where possible. This can be a time when managers and employees can pull closer together.
  • Keep normal schedules. Encouraging regular work hours is a great way to lend a sense of normalcy to a challenging situation. Start and end the day at the usual times with employee check-ins/outs, and maintain break times and lunch hours. You might even suggest that employees dress and conduct themselves at home just as they would at the office to give their new environment a workplace feel.
  • Use technology. From project management and team engagement to employee communication and collaboration and oversight of tasks, there are a host of online technologies to keep everyone connected. Video tools such as Zoom are exceptionally helpful in maintaining personal contact, lessening isolation, and enabling productivity to continue.
  • Have fun. These are strange times; be sure to give employees a breather from the personal and professional burdens they face. Our staff took a walk “together” using Zoom, and “gathered” for a virtual happy hour. Share photos of those activities on your website and social media pages. It’s a great way to show you’re a caring employer and a good place to work.

The way we work may have changed, at least temporarily, but companies can keep remote employees engaged and business moving forward. By communicating early and often, adopting a positive and proactive mindset, and tapping into technology, employers can remain effective in the brave new world of work.

About the Author

Miriam Dushane

Miriam Dushane, Managing Partner

Miriam is all in when it comes to doing whatever she can to help the Capital District grow and thrive. She is passionate about helping talented professionals find the right job and her work in the community is focused on furthering our area as a center of economic vitality. Miriam likes to garden and care for her pets. She is a member of an adult-only skate group where she rollerblades every week. She loves the Mets! And she is obsessed with vacuum cleaners; she really likes to vacuum and has 6 right now.

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