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How Companies Can Support Remote Workers in a Pandemic

As the year ends, the COVID-19 virus continues to plague the world. Companies that haven’t already adapted to remote working have started doing so. Despite the studies that show the benefits of remote working, it can still be a difficult process. Employers need to find a way to support their employees as we shift to a new normal. If you want to know how you can help them even with the geographic distances, here are what you need to do.

Allow for flexibility

Surveys found that distractions at home are the main challenges faced by remote workers. Many of your employees are living with kids and pets that are hard to keep in check. Sometimes they may need to help with setting up their online class or have an emergency. Although they could manage before with the work hours, the same might not be true now during a pandemic. They may not feel safe doing groceries every weekend because of all the people or difficulty finding transportation.

As an employer, you can show your support by being more considerate about their issues and offering more flexible hours. That doesn’t necessarily mean pushing deadlines, but being more lenient about their work hours will be a big help. They may not need to clock in at nine every day, or they may have an easier time working later in the night.

It may not be a lot, but this can be really helpful for them. This shows that you understand that they have certain responsibilities they need to do and that the current situation is making it more difficult. You may even find that giving them more flexible hours will improve their productivity and quality because it allows them to work in favorable times.

Maintain communication

One of the main problems that employees experience when they move from office to remote work is communication. Without being in the same location, it is more difficult to coordinate with people. You can’t just go to their cubicle to ask for this or check if they are working on the project you asked for. What makes this even more challenging is if the person concerned is not online, and you have no way of determining if they really received your email.

This can be remedied by having constant communication through online meetings. You can use this to align the team on the tasks, ask for updates, and inform other concerned employees on the progress on tasks that involve them. It informs everyone on how things are going and helps align them to the company’s goals.

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Get their insights

Related to the previous point, employers still need to check up on their employees’ health, especially during a pandemic. They are experiencing additional stress that could harm both their mental and physical health. This affects their work and overall productivity. Although it is difficult to reach out to all of them, you can still get their feedback on their situation using online surveys, such as the ones from Alchemer.

This ties in to the previous point of communicating with employees. Virtual sessions don’t have to be just about work, but it can also involve asking them about themselves. You can get a general idea of how they are faring and make the necessary adjustments when needed. For companies that have no choice but to have people go into the office, this will also help you identify and assist possible employees who may be sick and infected.

You should also take into account that some employees are unfamiliar with the software and tools used by remote workers. Some companies try to help their less tech-savvy employees by hosting coaching sessions to help ease them into the new work setting. If you are using project management tools, they may need a session to explain all the features available and how to use its tracking systems. Similarly, those who experience issues and errors with their systems can let you know their concerns through questionnaires and reporting officers.

Host virtual meetup

Boost your team’s morale by having online activities. It’s not the same as the normal team building activities, but that is still one way to help them. These sessions can help them relax as well as keep up social interaction with their peers. A common problem that people who work from home face is isolation. This can put a hamper on one’s mental health and make them feel like they are being abandoned.

Though there are limitations to what you can do, there are some activities that you can do online. Virtual Zumba is a common activity that people do online nowadays. You can also play games and stream movies together. One thing to remember about these activities is that they shouldn’t be forced. There may be times that some employees won’t be able to go, even if it’s after work hours. Whatever the reason, don’t pressure them to attend if they are unable.

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