Helping Your Employees Work More Effectively From Home

If you’re like many managers and small business owners, you’ve probably got a number of employees working remotely, from home right now.  That’s been a fairly common practice since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s a practice that seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Some employees have taken to the new paradigm like a duck to water, while others may be struggling.  If you’ve got one or more employees who is having trouble adjusting and adapting, there’s good news!  The American Psychological Association has published an article designed to help you better understand what your employees are going through and help them work more efficiently and effectively.

One of the key takeaways from this piece is the fact that this is not business as usual for your employees.  It’s not as though they’re doing what they always did, but now, simply doing it from home.  There are other factors at work here.

Daycare centers and schools are closed, in some cases, indefinitely, and your employees are having to try to figure out child care during a time when none is readily available.  They may also be dealing with one or more sick family members, which may involve regular hospital visits.  These are not normal times, and the stresses associated with the pandemic definitely complicate matters.

Another key piece to the puzzle is the importance of social connection.  Quarantine is, by definition, very isolating and if your employees aren’t accustomed to spending extended periods alone and with limited communications with the outside world, it can be very demoralizing and even disorienting.  They may feel disconnected from you and their co-workers, and that, in turn, can lead to feeling disconnected to the work itself, which can badly damage both morale and productivity.

As Dr. Timothy Golden, of the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute puts it:

“Staying connected to other co-workers, managers and customers is paramount to successful telecommuting.  While it might be tempting to think of yourself as an island working from home, telecommuters need to provide a social and professional support system to each other so that the social fabric that occurs in the corporate workplace is replicated as much as possible when working remotely.”

Wise words indeed, and the entire article is very insightful and well worth the read.  It will help you, as a manager or business owner get a better sense for what your employees are going through as they attempt to navigate these uncertain waters and balance the demands of remote working and the, often very chaotic demands of their homelife. 

If you’re trying to come up with some simple, effective strategies to help you help and supporting your employees during this difficult time, the article and other resources offered by the American Psychological Association can definitely help. 

Although we don’t know exactly when, the day’s are coming when the pandemic will finally burn itself out and things will begin to return to normal.  Until that day arrives though, resources like this can serve as an important lifeline.