The Outbreak of Covid19 has created social devastation and economic disruptions in the country. Pretty much all the workers across various sectors are in lockdown, and some are self-quarantined. The concept of Work from Home has therefore become an essential part of most organizations.
You need some proactive strategies and tools to create social bonds, connections and motivate employees that are working from home. So here are some pointers on how to do this effectively:
- Set Clear Expectations: Flexibility in schedule is an advantage for working from home employees. But if you want your employees to be present and more responsive at a certain time, you need to communicate this to them in advance. Encourage employees to maintain a calendar to know their online and offline availability.
- Communicate and Stay Connected: Try and connect with your employees over phone or video/audio conference. Your voice and tone will typically communicate your thoughts much better than emails.
- Recognize: Recognize the efforts made by the employees and reward them with praise, whenever appropriate.
- Create a visual scoreboard: You can create a visual scoreboard for the week and ask employees to tick each and every pointer on the scoreboard. This will help the employee understand their goals, progress and potential on an ongoing basis.
- Convert Phone calls/Conference to Video conferences: Use technology to the utmost. Organize Video Conferences instead of phone calls to have a stronger connect with your employees. Agenda of what will be discussed in the meeting should be sent well in advance to allow the employees to prepare themselves. The call should always start with small talk by the Manager to make the employees feel connected.
- Use Gifs: While chatting or on a group chat, in order to praise and congratulate, you can use gifs to make employee feel more connected. After all, comfort of the employee is most important. Often having an informal conversation with employees can be constructive.
- Group Breaks while you work from home: Whenever you take a break, consider connecting over video conferencing with other employees to have an informal chat. Be as creative as much as you can with your team.
- Have a Development Plan: Make sure you have a development plan for each employee for one week. Have video conferences every day. Here are some points you can discuss as per the day:
- Monday: Cover the following stock-taking and planning points:
- Did we finish and meet the deadlines of the last week?
- What are the new tasks for each employee this week and how are they planned to be done?
- How can we help each other in the tasks?
- Who should improve and in what areas?
- Tuesday- Thursday: Have a conversation with each employee (if possible) or have a conference with small groups to help the team tackle the tasks and any problems they face. This would help in increasing coordination among the employees.
- Friday: Friday should always focus on Reflection. Here the manager should ask about how the team felt while doing tasks, what problems they faced, etc.
While there are many advantages to working from home, managing employees over the wire presents unique challenges. While the work environment has completely changed, the goals are no different from the traditional workspace because you require the same results as what you needed at the office workspace. Remember, a little planning, help and praise for hard work can go a long way in keeping your team motivated while working from home.
What are Soft Skills? Soft Skills are the personal qualities of a person that determines how well he/she can work or interact with others.
Soft skills are essential in various aspects in an organization – building relationships with people, creating trust, building brand and leading teams. Having good soft skills helps to get positive results from people even in difficult working environments. Good soft skills also help people adapt to changing situations.
Given that soft skills are important for any individual working in an organization, here are some tips of how you can develop your soft skills:
- Recognise the area of work in which you should improve.
- Always try working with a mentor who can provide you with feedback.
- Focus on communication skills. Read more books about public speaking and try to improve your communication by talking to other professionals and colleagues.
- Accept all positive and negative feedback and create a plan to action them.
A key aspect of having good soft skills is a positive attitude. That being said, there are times when you may not be in a position to do a task due to certain considerations. The correct thing to do is to say ‘No’ to it. However, a lot of people faced with the above situation, say ‘Yes’ to prevent themselves from being seen as lazy or unhelpful.
Here are some of the ways in which you can say no without blame…
- How to say No to your Boss: It can be a little frightening when your boss assigns you more work, when your current projects are expected to fully exhaust your bandwidth.
You can probably say: “I would have done it, but you have already assigned me to other projects. I am busy working on them, so I don’t think I can do this work…”
Also, consider this reply: “Thank you for thinking of me for this, but would you prefer I take this on after finishing the work on my other projects?”. This can help the Boss to assess the relative importance of tasks and assign you the task basis priority.
- How to say No to a Co-worker: Say, a co-worker asks you for your help. The work being discussed might not interest you. However, for the sake of politeness or your relationship, you may not want to say no. So, you lie and make an excuse to him/her.
Instead consider stating a reason closer to the actual problem: “I really appreciate you asking me for help. But I am terrible at handling content for social media. It is neither my skill set nor does it interest me very much. Why don’t we ask XXX for help instead?”
- How to say No to your Employees: Your employee comes to you with an idea, but you are already having a clear plan of what you are going to do.
Instead of saying ‘No, we will be working as per the guidelines of the boss’, try telling them: “We are thankful for your ideas but unfortunately, the plan has already been approved. Whenever, there is any change discussed we will definitely work your idea in as well.”
- How to say No to your Client: First of all, listen to your client fully. Don’t try to stop or cut her in the middle of her idea even though you want to. After hearing her, you may highlight your concerns and reservations on her idea. It is incumbent upon you to convince her of your point of view.
Remember, it is always better to say “No” and not do something than say “Yes” and not do something.