As the global pandemic lingers on, Spotify joined a handful of other tech giants in expanding their work-from-home policies until at least the end of this year. Our employees have been working remotely since COVID-19 started spreading across the world.
Remote work has been gradually increasing in popularity. Since 2005, it’s grown by over 140%, which is ten times faster than the rest of the workforce. Remote work is especially prevalent within the tech industry and at organizations that employ younger personnel, but most industries have been slower to adopt work-from-home policies — until now.
Companies have had no choice but to extend WFH policies to their staff in response to the coronavirus. Managing a remote team doesn’t come as naturally to some leaders as it does to others, but it’s even more intimidating for managers who’ve never done it before.
Don’t let managing remote employees scare you. It’s easier than you might think, especially if you follow these four tips:
Use video as much as possible
Remote work eliminates the face-to-face time employees usually get when they come into the office. At first, the lack of camaraderie might not be noticed, but just give it time. Employees may start to feel isolated and unmotivated. Encourage more screen time between employees, but try to use video platforms as much as you can when speaking to your own team members. There’s a lot you can miss when you only connect by phone or email.
Schedule more frequent check-ins
In the office, you could walk over to an employee’s desk every time you had a quick question about a project or task, and they could do the same with you. But when you’re at home, these frequent touchpoints gradually disappear. Be strict about your regularly scheduled meetings, but also schedule smaller check-ins throughout the week. These conversations don’t have to be expansive or work-related. Even asking about their mental and physical health can have a huge impact on morale.
Plan a virtual social every once in awhile
Just because employees are all working from home doesn’t mean you can’t still have some fun together. We’ve hosted a variety of activities included, but not limited to team happy hours, workout classes, cooking lessons, live music performances featuring employees, magic shows, floral arranging classes and much more. This time has given us an opportunity to try things we normally wouldn’t have and it’s been much easier organizing around people’s schedules.
Remote work will be a difficult adjustment for some of your employees. Given the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, employees are going to be more anxious than ever. This might require some patience on your end as they work to figure out how to be productive and engaged in a new environment. If they come to you with an issue, offer your full support in amending the problem. With all that’s going on, focusing on work can be challenging. As you work with them more frequently, they’ll be able to establish a better work-life balance.
And be patient with yourself as you learn how to adapt your leadership skills to managing a remote team. Trust your gut. You know how your employees work, and your instincts will tell you what they need as they also figure out how to successfully work from home.