This year, 2020, provided businesses with some new challenges. Namely, most offices were not used to having remote employees let alone an entirely distributed workforce.
Heading into the end of the year we've learned a lot about how to manage our newfound home offices. Still though, many teams are struggling with work-life balance.
Thrown into the chaos of remote work, many offices didn't know how to work remotely. What are the procedures for being online and available throughout the day? What if I need a break? I'm on the computer at night, I might as well respond to these Slack messages...
It's not unreasonable to expect team members to be available during normal work hours. At the same time, it is unreasonable to expect an immediate response. Just as if people were working in the office, there are times when people are out or away from their desks.
Heading into 2021, business leaders need to set the example for their workforce. Just as with other corporate benefits like vacation days or reimbursements, managers should set the example.
Employees will mirror their managers' behaviors. Whether consciously or subconsciously, culture shifts when those in positions of leadership change their actions. Don't forget you're dealing with people, not an institution.
You're leading the team and you are the captain.
If you have expectations for specific work from home behaviors, communicate them clearly. Then, be sure to act on them yourself. If you show up to meetings on time, others will too. If you're prompt with responses, others will work to do the same.
If you don't see this happening, be conscientious in your approach. We're all dealing with difficult situations, many of which are not visible - especially when working from home. Be direct and let the team know how they should be meeting expectations.
Whether this is the new normal for your organization or eventually you'll find your way back into the office, it's your job to keep the team happy and productive.
Be the employee you want on your team and others will join you.