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Workplace the day after COVID-19

The last few weeks where a life changer, we have never seen an event like this that changes our day-to-day lives so dramatically, we were not prepared for the level of disruption caused by COVID-19 and for the new conditions to adapt.

After we all aligned, found the way to keep our teams safe and established the systems to allow productivity at the same time, we should put our attention to think how the workplace will change once this pandemic is over and the world goes back to normal. It is likely that the new normal will require us to adopt a more flexible model, where teams will move along the path between work from the office and work from home.

New research suggests that companies that let their teams decide, at least once a week, to work remotely – see increased employee productivity, reduced turnover, and lower organizational costs. But there are some risks you will face and factors to understand that can make the days in a week where remote work takes place especially demanding.

Challenges of Remote Work Days

Lack of face-to-face supervision: Both managers and their employees often express concerns about the lack of face-to-face interaction. Supervisors worry that employees will not work as hard or as efficiently. Many employees, on the other hand, struggle with reduced access to managerial support and communication.

Establish structured daily check-ins with remote employees. The important feature is that the calls are regular and predictable and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you and that their concerns and questions will be heard.

Provide several different communication technology options: Email alone is insufficient. Video conferencing has many advantages, especially for smaller groups: Visual cues allow for increased “mutual knowledge” about coworkers and help reduce the sense of isolation among teams. Video is also particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations, as it feels more personal than written or audio-only communication.

Watch on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfyOfjI2f7M&feature=youtu.be

Lack of access to information: People are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to locate information from coworkers while working remotely. Even getting answers to what seem like simple questions can feel like a large obstacle to a worker based at home. This phenomenon extends beyond task-related work to interpersonal challenges that can emerge among remote coworkers.

Establish “rules of engagement”: Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams. Keep an eye on communication among team members to ensure that they are sharing information as needed.

Social isolation: Loneliness is one of the most common complaints about remote work, with employees missing the informal social interaction of an office setting. Over a longer period, isolation can cause any employee to feel less “belonging” to their organization and can even result in increased intention to leave the company.

Provide opportunities for remote social interaction: One of the most essential steps is to structure ways for employees to interact socially (that is, have informal conversations about non-work topics).

One of the options includes virtual office coffee breaks (in which, coffee breaks “care packages” can be sent in advance to be opened and enjoyed simultaneously). Virtual events help reduce feelings of isolation, promoting a sense of belonging.

Disruption brings change and opportunity. Managing remote teams requires more work and more structure but very little of it needs to be about control. Working agreements that the team supports are critical. Things like What tools and channels are we using for what purpose, where do we share information, how do we issue and track tasks, what must we stop doing, what is our etiquette, etc.

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