In 2020, the pandemic has forced companies to work remotely if they wanted to stay afloat. Whether or not those companies were prepared for such an abrupt shift, didn’t really matter. Their teams quickly became virtual ones while the managers had to figure out things along the way. Since it doesn’t look like things are going to pick up anytime soon, employees need all the help they can get to feel comfortable working from home. One department that can help them overcome obstacles of remote work is HR. If your HR team doesn’t know how to support the staff or where to start, here are some suggestions.
In this day and age, staff members, especially remote ones, face many challenges. Some of them might find communication difficult, while others might not feel comfortable using certain tools. Building a high-performing virtual team won’t be easy, but you can overcome many of such obstacles by listening to what employees have to say. In particular, the HR team can collect feedback from employees, give them the necessary tools to express their opinion and make sure that the management acts on collected feedback. Surveys, questionnaires, suggestions boxes, or regular meetings can serve to collect their feedback. This will ultimately lead to improved work conditions and atmosphere in general in the workplace.
Since your team can no longer rely on direct communication, you have to find other means to communicate effectively. You can start by adopting communication practices. This way you will have ensured high responsiveness and engagement. Moreover, you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket. You can use various channels for communication to make interaction in the workplace effective. In particular, alternatives to Teams allow direct as well as group messaging. Therefore, employees can participate in open discussions and ask questions in private. Furthermore, employees can collaborate efficiently as though they were working in a real office instead of a virtual one.
New work arrangement means many changes in the workplace. Employees might feel discomfort from not knowing how the new arrangement is going to work or what the management expects from them. As heads of the HR department, you can set expectations by working closely with other departments and CEOs. Creating, updating, and sharing documents on how to approach certain tasks or communicate with others can keep employees on the same page. By setting expectations and enforcing practices, you will be creating a productive corporate culture. Employees will know what is expected from them, so they will make fewer mistakes and adhere to tight deadlines and quality standards imposed on them.
Apart from communication tools, employees have to have access to other tools that make their job easier. For example, tools for coding, filing, management, and content creation could help them do their job. Aside from investing in similar tools and programs, you should also invest in privacy and security measures. Remote employees work online more than other employees, so their passwords, documents, and contacts have to be safe. Providing them with certain security tools you will be making sure all corporate files and resources are safe from the data breach. Similarly, employees can use tools for e-signatures to speed up communication with clients and customers.
One aspect where HR managers can make a difference is employee engagement. Keeping staff engaged regularly helps to enhance their productivity and focus while also makes them feel satisfied with their work experience. The best way to keep them engaged is by organizing team building activities and events that will bring employees joy and pleasure throughout these moments of uncertainty. For example, you can host virtual gatherings during which employees can chat, play games, participate in quizzes and blow off some steam. Similarly, you can celebrate birthdays or anniversaries or mark important milestones. Such events will engage employees and show how much the company cares about them.
Those who weren’t forced by the pandemic to work remotely, choose to do so because of its many pros. In particular, because of all its flexibility. Employees don’t like working fixed hours because it prevents them from having a social and family life. For this reason, the HR team should focus more on work done instead of hours spent in the virtual workplace. Allowing employees to set their schedule as long as they get the work done on time increases their productivity and retains them in the long run. Employees will come to work more satisfied because their work and private life are perfectly balanced.
In the end, remote staff have a hard time trying to figure out how to work from home. Managers also face great challenges trying to support their staff the right way. The one department that can support employees the most is HR. Our tips can help HR managers get started and be the support employees need to thrive.
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