It looks like it’s going to be a while before you can pop into your employee’s workspace to communicate with them. Distance work can be incredibly challenging, even for the best mentors. If you’re not used to managing workers remotely, you may not have the right language to help your team stay cohesive and successful. Here are some helpful tips for employers to successfully communicate with their employees virtually during the COVID-19 crisis.
The number one priority for managers during the coronavirus crisis should be checking in on your employees. Regular brief meetings to see how your workers are doing is a practice that is crucial to successfully managing remote workers. It can be a five-minute call to check-in, but it should be something your workers depend on to relay any problems or updates.
2. Plan for Time Off
While the pandemic occurs, you need to take measures to ensure your staff stays as healthy and safe as possible. Non-essential workers need to stay at home and should have a plan in place to work remotely in the most effective way possible.
3. Providing Equipment
Ask what your people need. It is unethical to ask your employees to function remotely if they don’t have access to what they need. Check to see if your workers have access to any tools or equipment, as well as a good computer and high-functioning internet access. If not, find a way to connect them to the services they’ll need.
Used to quickly relaying thoughts and tasks? You may benefit from a quick messaging service like Slack. With Slack, you can send rapid messages to an individual or a group where they can respond in real-time. This can be far more beneficial than sending one-line emails back and forth.
5. Video Meetings
Your virtual meetings, whether you’re using Zoom, Webex, or Skype, should be professional. You can be a bit more casual in delivery and appearance, but you still want to send the strong message that you’re in charge and set the tone for success and productivity. Share expectations for any video meeting your schedule, but understand that you might catch a bad hair day or a toddler running through the frame.
If you haven’t tried it yet, Trello is a management tool designed to help you manage your tasks and amplify your productivity. Think of Trello as your own personal digital bulletin board – you can add and rearrange duties while managing all components of a product.
For an operating system built for use by your entire team, you need to seek out Monday. The Monday app allows multiple people to provide updates on a project and maintain a clear and efficient workflow. Check out this app if you’re constantly wondering which employee is waiting on someone else to keep things moving.
8. Virtual Etiquette
Learn the rules of the trade yourself! While it’s likely you may have had limited exposure to web platforms, now is the time to adapt. The basic rules include making sure you are appropriately groomed and dressed before you join a video meeting. While sweatpants are probably okay, you’ll want to make sure you look somewhat professional with a neat blouse or shirt. Also, don’t forget that you should be on mute if you are not the one speaking during a virtual meeting to reduce audio feedback or distracting background sounds.
9. Be Clear and Concise
During a crisis, it’s important to be mindful of your own time as well as that of your employees. That’s why you should take care during this time to be very succinct and very direct. As you manage your team in person, folks can take hints and interpret body language. When your team is remote, you may not have the opportunity to double back and explain in real-time.
10. Digital Work Plans
Early on, make sure you’re soliciting descriptions of what exactly your employees are getting done during their work from home time. You don’t need to micromanage, but there should be an expectation of reporting in virtually. Create a template, or let your workers decide their format. Either way, accountability is needed and some workers will be grateful for the structure.
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For more information on managing your employees, check out Job Store Staffing’s resources on leadership especially during a crisis. Contact us today to learn more.