Working from Home is the New Normal

To slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), many employees are working from home. As a manager, what does this mean for you and your employees when you do not typically conduct business virtually?

Companies that remain agile and willing to face the challenges that come from virtual management have a great chance of succeeding in our newly defined world that includes working from home.

Working from Home

As noted in this article,  88% of surveyed organizations have either encouraged or required employees to work from home. Additionally, practically all companies have canceled work-related travel; therefore, in this environment, employees are homebound.

Employers and employees alike are anxious about what the future will hold and who will need to continue working from home or who will lose their job. Even once Coronavirus is in the rear-view mirror, it is likely that the number of employees, at least partially working from home, will increase as employers realize the greater efficiencies that surface.

How to Keep Your Virtual Team Engaged and Productive

For companies and organizations that are used to a traditional 9 to 5 schedule in an office building, having a virtual work environment leads to a number of obstacles. Management and Human Resources (HR) collaborate to develop best practices to get the job done.

With employees working from home, the most significant concern companies face is keeping the team engaged and productive. This concern is alleviated with tools such as Zoom. Zoom is being used by so many companies and organizations now that it’s become a household term. With Zoom, you can schedule free (up to 40 minutes) video conference calls with employees and customers, which can occur on a computer or mobile device.

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As your team works remotely, a good practice is to have two Zoom meetings daily: one at the start of the day and one at the end. The morning meeting acts as a “touch base” meeting, determining the agenda, and whether assistance is needed. The end of day meeting focuses on accomplished tasks, as well as, items to be tackled for the rest of the week. If micromanagement is a concern, one daily meeting can suffice.

In addition to daily check-ins, teams can stay engaged throughout the day with an instant messaging system. One messaging system that’s integrated into G Suite is Google Chat. With Google Chat, teams may interact individually or in groups. Additionally, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other materials are easily shared through G Suite, making it a perfect solution for quick, real-time questions.

 

Set Your Employees Up for Success

While some employees thrive in a remote situation, others falter. Additionally, supervisory issues may arise when face to face interaction does not occur daily. Therefore, for maintaining a sense of team, with clear directions and ongoing communication is critical.

While staying in touch with your team via Zoom, phone calls, emails, and messaging, it is vital to support their mental and emotional wellbeing as well. As an HR leader or team manager, you can do things to help your team be not only engaged and productive but happy.

The Harvard Business Review suggests providing opportunities for social interaction among your team members. In addition to covering the business at hand during your Zoom meetings, allow everyone to check in about how they’re doing emotionally or share some happy moments.

Using powerful team-based tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, managers can more fully interact with their teams. Kate Walton, the CEO of Steyer Content, uses Slack with her team to host trivia contests, share pictures of employees’ pets, and connect.

Walton decided to replace the company’s regular in-person lunch gatherings with virtual happy hours. Other ideas for gathering while socially distancing include coffee, pizza parties, and office parties, which occur virtually.

Although “fun online gatherings” can help lighten the mood and keep teams connected while working from home, perhaps what’s more important is having managers and HR staff available to listen to this new remote team. Having a connection and feeling heard is fundamental to the human condition and more critical now. Perhaps it’s even become a requirement.

How Employment Verification HelpS

At i2Verify, we work closely with Human Resources teams by managing the time-consuming and costly employment verification process for all of their current and former employees.

HR teams that outsource employment verification to i2Verify rest easy knowing that the employment verification process is being taken care of and are able to place focus on other critical tasks including making sure that the team is able to work remotely. i2Verify works directly with all lenders, background check vendors, and government agencies to make sure that we fulfill all employment verification requests securely and quickly.

This means that when a verifier such as a lender requires a verification of employment to help an existing employee refinance a mortgage, i2Verify works directly with the lender to fulfill the request, so your HR team can help employees with other initiatives.

Plus, our leading employment verification platform is free for employers, employees and social service agencies and includes access to a dedicated employee portal.

Contact i2Verify for information on our employment verification platform.

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