working from home

How to manage employees working from home

Has the COVID-19 situation meant you have employees working from home? Find out how to help them work more efficiently so your small business stays productive.

3 min read

For many employees, working from home will soon become part of everyday life. But it’s not always easy to adjust to this new routine. We’ve put together some tips  for business owners and leaders to help employees settle into this new way of working. We’ll show you how to keep your remote workforce motivated and productive, allowing the business to adapt and remain successful.

Best practices for successful remote working

Many small business owners already manage a remote workforce very successfully, but many are still finding their feet. Here are some things to consider when you’re starting out with home working.

Provide the right tools

If you want your employees to work from home as seamlessly as possible, you need to make sure they have the tools and equipment they need. This starts with hardware – a laptop or keyboard and mouse – but also includes access to software that will keep the team connected.

For many, instant messaging tools such as Microsoft Teams are incredibly useful. They’re not quite the same as bouncing ideas around with colleagues who you’re sitting with, but they’re the next best thing.

Video conferencing tools like Zoom have also become a key part of successful home working and are the closest you’ll get to face-to-face conversations right now. What’s more, when your employees know they’ll be seen on screen they’ll have to change out of their pyjamas!

Stay secure

Make your team aware of cyber security when they’re working from home. A Virtual Private Network VPN should be installed and turned on, particularly if they’re working on sensitive documents. A strong internet connection is also important. Test the strength of your own connection and speak to your employees if they’re struggling with their bandwidth.

Be clear about priorities

When in doubt, over communicate with your team about your business priorities. Give employees clear expectations, so they know when they should be working and how to let others know when they’re not available.

Set boundaries

Encourage your employees to create a dedicated workspace in their home to help them stay focused and organised. Setting clear times for work and relaxation will also help with this. Where possible, offer employees flexible working patterns to ease childcare or other pressures.

Boost morale

Working from home in the long term can leave your employees feeling a little disconnected. Regular online check-ins make sure everyone is on track, but don’t forget to keep things sociable too. Encourage the team to hold ‘virtual hangouts’ as a way to connect and wind down. You could even start a dedicated chat or video conference link that’s live all day, to allow employees to pop in and out to catch up when time permits - much like meeting in the kitchen.

At QuickBooks we hold a weekly all-hands meeting on Zoom, featuring a Q&A which allows employees to ask questions and voice concerns with management. We’ve also been hosting a popular Friday quiz as a way to have a bit of fun and mark the start of the weekend.

The new normal

The most important thing a business leader can do right now is to be clear and transparent with your employees. You should be the first point of call for employees who need support to do their work well, so try to be patient while everyone gets the hang of working from home. Remember we’re all adjusting to a new reality. Let’s do it together.

Feel you’re better informed about supporting employees working from home? The QuickBooks blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses at this time.

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