How to help your people adapt to remote working

We suddenly find ourselves living in a world where almost everyone is working remotely. And it’s not showing any sign of changing any time soon!

Even with recent advice from the government encouraging people to go back to work, many major companies have announced that they won’t be forcing their people back to the office any time soon.

Newsflash: not everyone loves to work from home!

Whilst some people love avoiding the commute and are happy in their home office with the occasional Zoom chat, there are a raft of others that are struggling to adapt. They miss the coffee runs, the office banter and being able to nip over to Dave in accounts when they need their expenses signing off.

So as a manager and colleague, what can you do to support the strugglers?

1. Keep up the team meetings

These people need their team! They need the chat and they need the catch ups! They’re the people that thrive on this conversation and will often be the spirit of the team so find ways to keep this up.

2. Find a way to socialise

Zoom cocktails, team bingo, glitter parties and Houseparty quizzes. If lockdown taught us anything it was how to keep up a social life when we can’t be in the same location. Take this back to your team. Organised fun can still be fun! Give it to the strugglers to organise, it’s right up their street.

3. Arrange meet ups

Just because we’re not seeing each other every day doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t see each other at all. A picnic on the common, group exercise session or a ramble through the woods are all available to you. Or, if you’re allowed, meet up and work together for a few hours once a week. Just keep your distance!

4. Find solutions for painful things

If people are complaining that they miss the whiteboard in the office, find a solution. There are tools for everything! In this case, Trello or Monday. If people don’t like video on, don’t make them! You don’t need to see people’s faces to know they’re ok.

5. Just hang out

Remember how you used to go grab a coffee to see how someone was doing? Or linger in a meeting room once everyone else had gone – just for a chat? That’s the bit we’re missing. The informal chat. The check in. 121’s are great but they’re formal. Make time to ring for a chat. Hang out at the end of the meeting, even if it’s on Zoom.

6. Schedule 121’s just like you would normally

And stick to them! There has never been a more important time to stick to 121’s. Normally the stuff of work catch ups, gripes about other people and life updates, this cannot change! These things haven’t gone anywhere and people are no doubt feeling as though they’re out

of the loop. Especially the chatty ones who normally know everything. Keep them informed, feed them a bit of gossip and don’t miss the meetings or they’ll write their own narrative.

Everything has changed and it can be for the good. But there will be some that would rather have it all “just like it was”. People don’t like change so it’s your job to help them find the positives, overcome the hurdles and take the best bits forward.

Good luck!

Jessica HeagrenAbout the author

Jessica Heagren is CEO and Founder of flexible working site, That Works For Me. Like many women, Jessica found that a senior career in a financial services corporate plus a young family just didn’t work and so she created That Works For Me in order to bring together skilled professional people in need of flexible work with businesses in need of skilled professionals on a less than full time basis.


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