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The home office – the new normal?

 

Summer is behind us and autumn has taken centre stage. Right now, we are seeing increasing infection rates everywhere in Denmark and, once again, the Prime Minister has recommended that Danish companies have as many employees as possible working from their home offices.

The question is whether life with the coronavirus and working from home is the new normal? In any case, at Azets we receive an increasing number of enquiries from customers who want advice on how, as managers, they can best handle a situation where employees work from home.

I want to go back to the office!

A lot of questions arise in relation to working from home, not least about getting back to the familiar surroundings of the office. For how long, how, when, etc. – and a lot of those questions are difficult to answer right now. The coronavirus continues to ravage both domestically and abroad, and a lot of people have a nagging sense of insecurity that can be difficult to ease. At the same time, it is a good feeling when, as an employer, you can feel how the employees want to return to the office. Back to the community around the coffee machine and the food in the canteen. And it can be hard to say “no, you cannot return to the office yet”.

However, we must probably exercise patience for a little longer, and find a way to thrive in the home office – at least for a few days a week. Thus, managing (well) from a distance becomes essential. Now, a lot of us had good practice in the spring, and may have experienced both managerial mistakes and successes. Now, we get a new chance to adapt, adjust and refine. We are better prepared as regards what works and what does not, so the chance of success must be greater this time.

If you are faced with a need to manage your employees remotely, or if you are already doing it, you can get some good pieces of advice here:

  • Have regular daily meetings “by the coffee machine”. These should be short and completely informal, but they contribute to an increased sense of unity in the team.
  • When you call your employees, you can use video to your advantage.
  • Hold a Friday quiz once a month. The winner can receive a surprise in the mail.
  • Hold regular team meetings where the agenda is shared in advance, in order to promote efficiency and reduce uncertainty about the meeting’s goals and significance. Remember to share the screen along the way – it makes it easier to keep up.
  • Have regular 1:1 meetings with employees.
  • Help employees establish some good home office routines. Perhaps you established some routines yourself that work well and can be shared? Consider running through these with the team virtually.
  • Encourage employees to take a 10-minute break outside during the day to stretch their legs.

Unforeseen challenges

Undoubtedly, a lot of talented managers out there get their tasks across the line surely and purposefully. Yet, an everyday life of working from home can entail complex and perhaps entirely new challenges.

Even though the future is uncertain and we are all holding our breath right now, it does not necessarily mean that your employees want to tread water in their professional development. In order for the development of skills to continue along an upward slope, as a manager you can, for example, arrange for a skilled specialist from the organisation to hold a digital seminar for your team. Or perhaps someone in the team has a special core competence that can be shared? Encourage employees to continue to stay up to date professionally, and ask that relevant specialist knowledge be shared in team meetings.

Remember to involve the employees and ask them to make concrete contributions regarding the challenges that arise. For example, customers may be working in a different way than before. Then, as a supplier and specialist, you must adjust your delivery accordingly. Be creative, use each other in the team and act as sounding boards for each other. Being able to contribute to growth in difficult times – that feels good!

Trust becomes a keyword

We must face the fact that the home office has become a fixture in many homes. And that means that trust will be a keyword which, this autumn particularly, must pass its ultimate test. Let your employees take responsibility, but remain a visible leader – even from a distance.

Right now, it is perhaps more important than ever to ensure the good results and, at the same time, have an increased focus on motivated employees who deliver as best they can.

Need help?

If you are a manager and need advice or discussions in connection with the management of your employees, you are welcome to contact Azets. We have a team of experienced advisors who assist Danish managers with challenges related to HR, employees and management every day.

 

Want more information?

You are always welcome to give us a call. If you want us to contact you, fill in the form and we will contact you as soon as possible.

+45 70 232 232

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