With the ‘new normal’ meaning that the office is never likely to be full again, as a business owner you have new challenges to face.
Once you’ve got over some of the obvious benefits for yourself (no commute into the office) and your bottom line (no office space to pay out for) there are some other things you’ll need to do differently now your whole team is working from home.
#1 Fight the urge to micromanage your staff
You wouldn’t be human if it hadn’t asked yourself whether, without a boss wandering around, are your employees actually working? If you’re worried that without your constant supervision, you’ll just be paying the people who work for you to watch television all day, then you need to have a bit of a re-think.
If they cope with their workload, attend and contribute to online meetings then they are doing what you pay them for, and checking up on them is probably going to have the same effect as standing in the office just staring at them would.
#2 Communicate clearly and set expectations
Part of the reason why you might feel the urge to do #1 is that you haven’t done this one properly. If you set the expectations of the day or week out clearly, and you or your managers have assigned workloads correctly, then your employees should encounter no extra problems to those they would have done in the office.
Unlike the office, however, help and support are not so easily accessible so this is where clear communication both back up the line and between peers is essential. This is where task and project management software come in handy so everyone can see the progress of what is being worked on.
If this raises concerns about whether the money you saved on not having an office is about to go on some expensive software, you can put your mind at rest. There are free versions of most of the software, which will work very well for small businesses or projects without too many stakeholders.
#3 Listen to your employees’ concerns
Now that you are not all under the same roof, you won’t be able to pick up changes in body language or detect good or bad atmospheres in the workplace. In short, you won’t see those tell-tale signs that an employee is unhappy with their lot.
Zoom meetings (or via Skype or WhatsApp) are no great indication of how a person is doing, especially in the face of the circumstances that led to everyone working from home in the first place. For this reason, it could be wise to use some employee survey software like that offered by inpulse.com to get some real feedback on how your workforce feels.
If the software is any good, it will let you design your own survey and find out what really makes your key workers tick. This kind of insight has been proven to help with the retention of key staff, so can only be seen as a plus to your business.