June 16, 2021

Volume XI, Number 167

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June 14, 2021

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Making Time for Small Talk – And Other Tips for Making Remote Work a Success - PART III

This is part three of a 3-part series, and the second of several posts addressing remote work considerations arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This series explores tips from companies that have figured out how to run a business with a remote workforce, with advice on how to help re-engage your remote workforce, or, if you already have a good system in place, how to make sure you keep employees productive and satisfied.  Don’t miss Tip One and Tip Two.

Tip Three:

Decide on Communication Rules. And tell employees. If employers leave the choice of the communication venue - and the way employees should communicate with management and each other - up to employees, employers may be disappointed. If there is no set standard, and no one knows what is expected of them, there is likely going to be frustration from both sides. However, you can create a synchronous culture where your team is expected to communicate at regular intervals during the day, or via a certain platform when they need to share ideas, ask questions, or merely check-in. For some office cultures, that could mean employees know they must communicate with each other and share when they will be away, whether for lunch, a rest, or dealing with homeschooling (which is where flexibility comes in). Setting standards and executing communication strategies can easily be done through technology, by having employees change their status, or send a Teams message, or Slack their colleagues with updates throughout the day. This past year has shown that with remote work comes a lack of situational cues; we do not have the in person interactions that help us understand and see our colleagues’ efforts and output (reducing trust). This results in miscommunications, and a host of problems that follow. Therefore, drafting a well-designed remote work policy with communication as a key component will go a long way.

If the remote work environment has been set up well, with expectations clearly defined, and continued and ongoing communication as a key component, there is no reason it cannot work just as good, or better, than an in-office set-up. The overall advice is to treat employees like professionals, and your workforce will thank you for it by making your organization more successful. 

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 127
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About this Author

Mary Kathryn Curry, labor and employment lawyer, polsinelli, law firm
Associate

Mary Curry is dedicated to helping clients efficiently and effectively address their litigation needs. As a member of the firm's Labor and Employment practice, Mary represents employers across a variety of industries. She has extensive experience working on employment related cases, from wage and hour matters, discrimination and harassment claims, as well as E.R.I.S.A. and administrative actions. Her experience litigating employment-related cases in federal and state courts, as well as administrative agencies has sharpened her ability to provide effective, accurate...

312-873-2945
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