Keeping in touch with staff who work from home
It's important for employers and employees to keep in touch with each other when working from home.
It's a good idea to:
- agree how and when to communicate with each other
- make sure everyone has the right tools to keep in contact and knows how to use them
- be understanding and flexible about individual circumstances
Getting communication right
Where possible, you should provide different ways for people to stay in touch to prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation. For example, instant messenger tools, video meetings, as well as emails.
It's important to find the right balance and be clear about the purpose for getting in touch. Constant or unnecessary contact can cause stress and affect morale.
Using too many different methods to communicate can also be confusing and stressful. You should talk to your employees and any representatives about which communication methods work best and when.
It can be harder to notice problems people are having if you're not meeting face-to-face. When communicating remotely, employers and managers should:
- ask the employee how they are feeling
- be aware of any changes in behaviour or tone of voice
- listen carefully to any concerns
Online meetings are one of the main ways to communicate remotely, but should be used appropriately. Too many meetings can reduce productivity and cause stress, anxiety and fatigue.
When arranging a meeting you should:
- make sure it's definitely needed
- schedule it as far in advance as possible, and make sure there are enough gaps between meetings
- make the purpose of the meeting clear to those attending
- check if anyone might find attending difficult, for example because of caring responsibilities or disruptions
One-to-one meetings are good opportunities to talk about how work is going, as well as how people are feeling.
Managers should have regular one-to-ones with each member of their team, including new starters.
Making time for social activities can help keep employees feeling connected and motivated. For example, quizzes and coffee catch-ups using video calls.
It's important to make sure everyone feels included, no matter where they are working.