5 Tips for Managing from a Distance
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and more and more employees find that their employers have determined that their jobs can be done permanently from home, here are a few tips lab managers can use to ensure their team’s productivity and connection, despite some staff being at home while others are at work.
Pay special attention to staff working from home who live alone. Lab mates can check on these teammates frequently, even planning virtual social activities after work. Use video conferencing to maintain team cohesion and consider organizing remote, team-building activities.
- Continue to challenge staff:
Find projects for your staff that you know will challenge them. Working from home becomes a lot less tedious when instead of doing what you already know how to do, you are working on new projects that require you to stretch, grow and learn.
- Dealing with technology challenges:
Don’t expect that your entire team is comfortable using online resources – provide extra time to train anyone who needs the extra support to get familiar with the online resources your company is making available to them.
- Managing overworking:
It’s important that managers avoid behaviors that will add to the pressure employees feel to overwork when working from home and the line between work and family time is blurred. Most importantly, do not email your staff after hours, on weekends, on holidays and during vacations, if it can be avoided. Managers will need to encourage their staff to stop working at a reasonable hour to avoid burnout from overworking. In a study conducted by Abbey Research, it was found that if employees work 11 or more hours a day, they are 2.5 x more likely to develop depression and 60% more likely to develop heart disease.
- Disjointed team communication:
It’s important to make use of every possible communication channel available to you from phone calls and texts to messaging platforms and video conferencing to ensure you and your staff have open lines of communication.