Remote working is here to stay but you should organize your company for them to stay
Check in on your employees. Not all employees are going to let you know how they’re doing and what they need, Bobbi Thomason writes.
For example, research finds that minorities are generally reluctant to share information about themselves at work.
Furthermore, Black women are more likely to experience invisibility at work, which means that even when they do speak up, their comments are less likely to be remembered.
But it’s not only women and minorities whom you should be attuned to — research, including my own, has found that men hesitate to express the need for family accommodations with their employers.
Creating an inclusive remote culture starts with hearing out all employees, then making fair and appropriate accommodations.
The simple act of communicating in and of itself can relieve ambiguity and anxiety.
Offer flexible — not just remote — work when possible. Working from home doesn’t necessarily include flexibility.
Some companies, for example, insist that workers continue to be at their computers during regular work hours, just as they were in their physical offices pre-pandemic.
Plus, the average workday is almost an hour longer now than it was before the pandemic.
While some tasks and decisions need to be completed synchronously, leaders should consider whether all tasks and decisions need to happen this way.
Allowing for some asynchronous collaboration will give employees the flexibility to manage their multiple responsibilities (as most of them currently are).
Flexibility can bring a bit of sanity and comfort and become a competitive advantage for an organization.
Pay attention to time and mental breaks. Rotating meetings between times that are convenient (and inconvenient) for each location is a best practice for globally distributed teams so that no one group gets the luxury of the 11 AM meeting or the headache of the 11 PM meeting each time.
Even if your team is all in one time zone, you may want to borrow this practice.
Also, while working from home may make it seem like employees are always available, it’s important that they schedule time to be “off.” Taking breaks and switching tasks not only recharges energy, it also improves creative thinking and problem solving and reduces burnout.
Leaders have an opportunity to encourage all employees to take recovery time, especially during these times when workers’ struggles might not be readily apparent thanks to remote work. ■