A Guide For the Managers: Handle Remote Employees Seamlessly

by Srikant Chellappa Mar 25,2020
Engagedly
PODCAST

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Given the current worldwide scenario, work from home is not a benefit anymore, it’s a necessity. Because of COVID-19, more and more companies are urging their employees to work remotely. But as leaders, do we know how to keep our employees engaged? How well equipped are we to handle a situation like this?

Remote work is not the same as a typical work structure. While it has many perks, there are a lot of challenges as well, especially if the employees have not been conditioned to work from home.

Here are few challenges remote employees face and how you can handle them better:

Feeling lonely or isolated:

This has to be one of the main challenges most remote employees face. When we work in an office environment, we tend to take our daily interactions for granted. Being social animals, socialising is what keeps us ticking on a regular basis. But if we are to work remotely for an indefinite period, the sense of isolation and loneliness can get to most people and can be detrimental.

As a leader, it is of utmost importance that you understand this situation and plan things accordingly. Pick a virtual socialising platform and get your employees to communicate with each other more often. Make them believe that working from home does not necessarily have to be a lonely affair.

Also read: Remote Working 101 – The Complete Guide To Working From Home

Missing out on non-verbal cues:

When in an office environment, we sometimes stop by at a colleague’s desk for small talk, an informal exchange in the hallway or a quick chit-chat in the chilling zone. This not only breaks the ice but also helps in understanding a person’s intent, as we unconsciously tend to read body languages. But none of that is possible when we are working from home. Communication and drawing the intent of it becomes difficult, especially if we don’t know the employee much.

In such a scenario, it’s best for you to have telephonic conversations or video chats more often. Have detailed discussions on projects and tasks, ask a lot of questions (in a non-threatening and friendly manner) and share a lot of information. Having friendly semi-formal conversations can go a long way and it will also make your employees feel that you care about them.

Unclear expectations and delivery:

Remote or not, in most cases employees are not clear about what is expected out of them and what are their goals. Imagine how confused they might be, especially when they are working remotely!

To avoid such circumstances, make sure you communicate with tremendous clarity, what is expected out of every employee, where are you all going with it and what are the goals. Keep them aligned on where the team or the department has reached and how far they have to go. This will definitely enhance employee engagement.

Lack of clear feedback:

As it is, a remote employee feels disconnected and demotivated quite often. To top that, if the manager does not share positive and negative feedback, the level of employee engagement drops significantly, making it very hard to keep that employee inspired.

The solution is pretty simple. As a manager, keep communicating with your employee often. Let them know when they are doing a great job and simultaneously, guide them when they make any mistake. Give them the assurance that you are there to guide them if they need anything, as long as they are doing their bit as well.

Also read: Communication Is The Key Through Any Crisis

Psychological unrest:

Last but not the least, your employees might go through a difficult time adjusting to the new scenario, not being able to move around freely, not being able to go to work that charges up their mind. Being trapped inside has its own side effects that are often inevitable.

Be understanding and open-minded towards them. Keep inspiring them in different ways. Practicing these little things can keep your employees positive and motivated.

At a time like this, there is no harm in thinking out of the box and implementing new ideas. The spread of Corona virus has completely changed the way we work today. While it may take some time to bring the situation under control, make sure you give your employees this assurance that, other than the fact that they are working remotely, nothing else needs to change. It’s business as usual, with a better level of understanding.

 


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Author
Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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