As we start a second lockdown and once again look at managing a remote team, we look at two FAQ's relating to employees working from home. We start with maintaining team spirit.
How can I keep the ‘team spirit’ when the team works from home?
Perhaps your business has never had homeworkers until 2020, when we have all had to find new ways of working. There are challenges to managing home workers, not just in terms of performance but in terms of maintaining that culture and team spirit that is evident when you are based at the same location.
You lose those ‘Water cooler’ moments where your teams will naturally have breaks to chit chat and this does help build relationships – these are lost when you suddenly are working from different locations.
Give a forum for the social interactions
We have often heard employees say that they miss the interactions with their co workers but feel if they called them for a chat or messages them online that it may be seen as they are not working as effectively being at home.
Why not create a forum that gives your permission and in fact encourages those interactions? Perhaps this can be from having a messaging service, WhatsApp group or even a team zoom call that has no other agenda other than to check in and catch up?
We have seen feedback from lots of employees that feel that communications from their Managers has reduced since working from home yet Managers feeling like they are not communicating any less. This may be a case of perception, but it is fair to say you need to be more proactive and communicate more frequently to create that feeling of support that your teams may crave right now.
It may seem like it is difficult to have social times with your teams right now but there have been some creative ways to still complete team building activities together online. Think about virtual cocktail making, a cooking class, team quizzes, yoga, art class – the options are endless and there are some creative suppliers there ready to facilitate these.
We may have been forced in 2020 to embrace a more online / remote way of working and interacting but there are lots of ways you can still build that team spirit and then when you may return back to the business premises – you have a stronger team as a result.
What equipment do I need to provide home workers?
Where you have Home Workers, you should have completed both a Home Working risk assessment and a Display Screen risk assessment to identify where there may be a need to provide certain equipment to ensure your employees are able to work safely from home.
What type of things may be needed?
As homeworking has become a longer term arrangement than many expected, it may not be ideal that you have employees working from a kitchen / dining table on an unsuitable chair or even working with their laptop on their knee.
There may be equipment you already have that you could provide the employee whilst working at home. For example, could they take their office chair home if you do not have them working from the office?
For more permanent arrangements you may want to consider the provision of a good adjustable chair and possible a work desk.
Do your employees have the ability to take a desktop computer hone or do you need to invest in laptops?
If an employee is working from their own device, then you may need to consider the security this may have and possibly provide your own Antivirus or security software to ensure data is not compromised.
Have your employees got a fast-enough internet connection to work effectively? If not then you may wish to invest in providing a faster service or contributing the cost of them upgrading their own service.
Can your phones be diverted or are you providing mobiles to allow employees to work effectively from home?
By completing the correct risk assessment, this will help you identify what is needed to support your employees to work safely from home.
Should you have any further questions or concerns then we are happy for you to speak with one of our HR or Health & Safety Advisors at no cost, please contact us on 0844 8797286.
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