The recent pandemic has caused a ripple effect in society, leading to lockdowns and closures around the world. As a result, many businesses and companies suddenly find themselves unwilling participants in what Bloomberg described as the World’s Largest Work-From-Home Experiment. As such, remote management is urgently becoming a skill that needs to be learned.
One-time emergencies such as data breaches and natural disasters are manageable with contingency plans. Under such scenarios, leaders are able to assess the scale of damage for swift containment and resolution. An ongoing pandemic, however, is unmeasurable and creates a landscape of uncertainty.
Additionally, most business continuity plans aren’t prepared for sudden large-scale transitions of the workforce. Communication, above all else, is key when it comes down to getting things done while employees work remotely from the safety of their homes.
The leader must remain a pillar of support, acting through a two-prong strategy. Firstly, the leader must acknowledge the concerns and insecurities of employees. And secondly, they must assure and affirm the resilience of the organisation throughout the crisis.
We’ll look at how business owners and managers are able to keep remote workers motivated and united through these challenging times.
Establishing a Clear Remote Work Policy
Remote work brings about its own set of challenges. Managers must ensure that employees are always on the same page despite the distance. One way to achieve this is by conducting daily check-in communications, either individually, or in groups.
These points of contact can be conducted via call or video conferences as they provide more “mutual information” among co-workers. This information relates to visual and audio cues from co-workers, which are associated with the workplace. Dynamic communication also prevents misunderstandings that may arise from the vague tonality conveyed through an email or text message.
By tapping upon these cues, workers can retain a sense of belonging for the workplace and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships with co-workers.
Managers can go the extra mile by allocating a short window during each check-in call, where workers are encouraged to engage in non-work related discussions. This will help further strengthen working ties and reduce the effects of social isolation.
Most importantly, leaders should clarify the rules of engagement right from the beginning. Aside from scheduling daily check-ins, employees should be briefed on the best way and time of day to contact leaders in the case of an emergency.
Finally, language plays a huge role during times of disruption. Leaders can keep remote workers united by rallying them with words of encouragement. Statements such as “We can get through this”, or “Let’s overcome the crisis together”, are simple but morale-boosting ways to keep the team strong and together.
Benefits of a Strength-based Work Environment
Strength-based workplaces understand employees through their innate patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.
Leaders in strength-based environments have an advantage during times of crisis. They’re able to understand the unique behaviours of each employee. This enables leaders to apply the right language and approach of putting their employees at ease.
A crisis is a period of disruption where employees are likely to turn to their leaders for assurance and direction, more so than ever. Personalised coaching is one way to get workers motivated through hard times. This is especially beneficial for newer hires, who may be caught in the storm of things.
Edward Sturm, director of marketing for communication platform, Reverb, shares, “pay super close attention to new team members to make sure they can keep up with the workload.”
Generally, leaders should quickly respond to unexpected events by individualising their approach to each worker and optimising their performances.
The CliftonStrengths (Clifton StrengthsFinder) is an online assessment that will help you recognise and enhance the innate talents of your employees. This will help you create a positive environment where employees thrive by doing what they’re naturally good at.
Hard times challenge the boundaries of our strengths. Fortunately, it stretches beyond any distance, remote or otherwise.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.