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3 Tips for Leading a Newly Remote Workforce

In an effort to keep their employees safe and healthy, many companies are asking people to work from home. But this is much easier said than done – especially for organizations without any previous remote employees or remote-work expectations in place.

Here are three ways HR can promote effective work with a newly-remote workforce in this challenging and ever-changing situation.

1. Overcommunicate

No one-and-done communication strategy exists that will work during this time. That’s why it’s necessary to encourage team leaders and employees to overcommunicate questions, concerns and successes multiple times a day.

Let your workforce know your preferred channels for communication.

  • You may want to choose an instant messaging app or allow texting for informal “watercooler” conversation. This gives workers a casual place to chat and stay connected. It’s also a way they can troubleshoot any common tech problems.
  • Reserve email for important work-related conversations.
  • Use phone calls for mission-critical problems, but document those calls through email.
  • Provide an avenue for secure electronic form signatures and transfers, especially if you are implementing new employee policies.
  • Ensure employees have a convenient, confidential channel to communicate with HR or other key departments, even if they don’t know specifically who to ask.

2. Accept that change is hard

The people in your company will all react differently to working from home. Some can easily adapt to change and transition without any trouble. For others, such a major disruption to their regular schedules will come as a shock, and they’ll need time to mentally adjust to the situation.

Help employees transition more easily by:

3. Develop and communicate new work expectations

Clearly communicating your expectations of remote work helps keep things as close to normal as possible, which helps employees stay productive.

Maintain regular meetings through video conferencing. It can be uncomfortable for some, but it helps people stay on time and on task.

Define work hours, how to track them and any additional time you expect salaried employees to be on call outside of the normal workday.

Remind managers and team leads they are responsible for checking in with direct reports on a regular basis.

We’re living in unprecedented times, and that means we must lead employees in new ways – including remote work. But with some patience and the right technology, HR can help lead the way to get effective, efficient work done.