Now that most of us are working from home again for the foreseeable, are your team supported in their homeworking set up? We’ve put together a working from home toolkit to make sure your staff are productive and effective.
Check their work set up
The best way to do this is to conduct a risk assessment to make sure that their set-up is conducive to effective homeworking. You can download a free risk assessment template from the Bespoke HR website. https://www.bespokehr.com/free-homeworking-risk-assessment-template/
Check your paperwork
If you have furloughed any staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme then you will need this agreement in writing. You will need to adapt it and make sure that it’s bespoke and relevant to your business, rather than a standard template.
There are valuable lessons to be learned from the last lockdown in terms of what worked and what didn’t. Did you find that your team communicated well? Were they all able to work together effectively? Most importantly, did they feel supported? These are challenging times for managers and employees so it can be good to understand how they are feeling in order to adapt as you go along. One way of doing this is to send out a staff survey. We’ve got a free questionnaire template on our site. https://www.bespokehr.com/free-staff-survey-questionnaire-template-download/ . If you only have a couple of employees then obviously this process may seem too formal and you can do it face to face if you feel more comfortable this way.
Check on their wellbeing
This is a very difficult time for everyone, and as an employer you have a duty of care to support your staff (which includes their wellbeing). There are lots of really useful resourced out there to help, so it can be a good idea to either look through them as an employer or signpost any employees who may be struggling (see our wellbeing post for a full run down).
Encourage staff to take breaks. As the lines between work and home are now blurred, staff should take comfort breaks just as they would during a ‘normal’ working day.
We appreciate that remote working can be extremely isolating, particularly for those who haven’t experienced it before or who thrive in an office environment. How can you keep your team motivated? Here are a few suggestions:
· Schedule regular calls
A weekly call or video call soon will soon become the norm if you put this into practice and will give your team a focus. It’s essential you stick to this each week to offer a routine. Consider individual calls and catch ups in addition to weekly team meets to ensure that staff feel supported and part of the team. At Bespoke HR we use Google hangouts but you can also use Zoom, Microsoft teams or Slack.
· Be creative
We know that for some people the idea of online drinks or quizzes is a nightmare, so ask your team to come up with ideas on how they can stay connected.
· Trust them
‘Traditional’ hours of 9-5 have gone out of the window as we all juggle additional priorities, such as caring for children and home schooling. You will need to be flexible in your approach to their working time. Allowing flexibility will be more motivating for them and help to alleviate stress.
· Be understanding
Children popping up in the background during video calls, parcels arriving at the door, dogs barking in the middle of a meeting – these are all to be expected in this new era of working! Don’t make staff feel guilty about this and accept the fact that this is how it is for the time being.
· Be transparent
Being open and honest about the state of the business is crucial, particularly as the workforce is spread out and may feel disconnected from the business. Many of the businesses we work with discovered that staff are energised by the motto of ‘we’re all in this together’ and sharing a common goal.
· Think about incentives
Many employees have been instrumental in keeping the business going during this challenging time. Rewards and incentives go a long way with staff motivation. Even a simple gesture can make a massive difference. If you’re not in a position to make a financial gesture then time off, awards, volunteering or training opportunities can be just as motivational.