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While the remote workforce has been a growing trend, these current times are changing how employees work, how employers support them and even company-wide policies. In a survey that took place between May 29 and June 4, 2020, 70% of employees reported working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, either by requirement or choice, and many expect to continue to do so more frequently even after the pandemic has subsided.
As employees continue to adjust to a remote work routine, here are a few ways businesses can manage a remote workforce and environment:
Given little experience or policies in place prior to COVID-19, many businesses may have struggled with working remotely initially. Setting structured daily or weekly check-ins can be a useful way to stay on top of employee workload and concerns, with additional guidance and supervision for junior and newer employees.
Coping with Isolation
Isolation can undermine an employee’s ability to identify with their organization, which can lead to lower job performance and greater turnover. A company’s culture is vital to its success, so keep coworkers engaged and connected in genuine ways, such as with team lunches, book clubs, well-being challenges or happy hours (virtually works just fine).
When employees who are new to working remotely lack experience with online tools, productivity suffers. For simple, time-sensitive asks or questions, employees should opt for mobile-enabled instant messaging software. For more complex or formal conversations when in-person isn’t possible, choose a video conference service, and follow up one-on-one to ensure the task is understood and next steps are clearly established.
When workers are balancing their jobs with childcare and other responsibilities, flexibility is a must. It’s important to form a culture with a clear work/life balance. Encourage workers to schedule regular “offline hours,” when they can take a much-needed break or work on a project uninterrupted.
In many ways, how we work has changed, and it could signal long-term shifts in how work gets done. Communicating often and openly is crucial to keeping business running as efficiently as possible, whether working remotely or onsite. By sharing these tips with your clients, you can help them run a leaner, smarter business going forward.
This article first appeared as featured content in Harvard Pilgrim’s HaPi Guide newsletter on April 30, 2020. To stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare topics such as the future of health care, new ways to be healthy or the business of insurance, sign up to receive our monthly communication: