Some employers may already have had robust remote work policies in place before COVID-19 hit. Those who didn't are not only establishing new ways to communicate and delegate, they're having to create a new work culture.
While technology and communication are the first pieces to put into place when establishing a new remote work policy and plan, workplace culture shouldn't be ignored if you want employees to continue feeling connected and engaged.
Here are some things to consider as you create a remote work policy.
1. Your employees have distractions they haven't had to contend with before. Anyone with school-age children, for instance, is juggling not only work but a new schedule that involves education, entertainment, and behavior management. Understand that a strictly 8:00 am - 5:00 pm workday might not happen moving forward - but that doesn't mean goals can't be met and tasks completed. Think about how you're going to communicate expectations and requirements, and worry less about the hours or location in which someone spent working on a project and more about the results.
2. Work-life balance is still important. When the kitchen table is doing double-duty as your desk, it can be harder to separate work and personal life. Add the need for more flexible schedules, as mentioned above, and the lines can get even more blurred. It's important for managers to encourage employees to carve out time for their personal lives and not take advantage of a more fluid working schedule to make 24/7 demands.
3. Team collaboration is key. Employees no longer have small interactions that can add up to significant touch points during their days. Make sure to set up regular team meetings both to communicate the status of work being done, and also to foster interaction as a team.
4. Make sure you have the tools to support your team culture goals. If one of your values is "open communication" you need to ensure that the resources are in place to enable that. Does everyone know how to use the tech features that many workplaces are now leaning heavily on, for instance? Consider a tutorial on how to use the tech features that will help your team stay in close contact.
5. Promote trust. Managers can help employees feel the right balance of connectivity without micromanaging by clearly outlining expectations and processes.