End of year announcements regarding work from home policies from tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and Google could set the tone for other businesses considering remote work policies in 2021 and beyond. With Google and Amazon continuing work from home through summer 2021 and Microsoft announcing employees can permanently work from home, businesses of all sizes should prepare for another shift on the work front. Whether work is happening from inside a traditional office or through a hybrid office/work from home scenario, employers and their employees should be on the lookout for new ways to improve how the job gets done.
Although work from home now feels more normal than it once did, many companies still have not officially addressed the lingering need for more flexible policies. Ongoing changes such as schooling from home, the juggling of technology tools and finding availability for everyone’s home, school and job schedules mean getting work done is becoming more complicated than ever before. The rising number of distractions creates the need to build in best practices that emphasize clear communication and team collaboration.
Weekly/Bi-Weekly meetings – Create a dedicated time to check in on current initiatives and ask how team members are doing from a mental health perspective. Keep in mind, back-to-back video meetings can be exhausting, so consider changing up the meeting format to include phone calls or quick messaging and be respectful of keeping time limits on meetings.
Stay on the same page – Different people process information in different ways and at different speeds. Make it a best practice to follow up on verbal requests with a written summary of the tasks at hand. This written directive can double as talking points for the next meeting’s agenda or check-in.
Remember the human element – The pandemic and its many elements continue to place incredible pressures on businesses and their employees. Because the ever changing normal is likely to be different for everyone, each person may react very differently to a situation or a request. At such times, it is beneficial to remember that even though our circumstances may differ from person to person, we are all in this together.
Apply teamwork liberally – Increased stressors translate into more distractions. When in doubt, call on teammates for support. Ask for another set of eyes to review work and create task lists to build in accountability. Also, give extra consideration to the tone of emails, texts and messages sent. Stress can make these words come across more harshly than anticipated. A second read-through or pausing before hitting send could be what is needed to avoid an unnecessary misunderstanding.