There’s quite a bit of advice going around for people working from home for the first time. They need to learn how to manage their time, motivate themselves, avoid boredom and get away from the interruptions. Managers also need to learn all this and more.

They now have to work out how you communicate with people working at home. This is not just a temporary situation for a week or so and then it’s all back to normal. This is likely to go on for months. So managers will need to find effective ways of replacing the face-to-face chat at work and all those meetings, formal and informal. Business needs to go on, people need to know what’s expected, decisions need to be made and teams need to collaborate.

Fortunately we have a wealth of technology available to help. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit at a time when most employees have a smart phone, a laptop and maybe a tablet. They probably have a broadband connection at home, or are in reach of a 4G signal. Organisations that already have remote workers are set up for employees to access the systems. Otherwise there are publicly available tools such a Skype and Zoom for video, Slack and WhatsApp for teamwork and Dropbox and Google for documents.

Now is the time for organisations to encourage the use of social media to keep their employees talking to each other rather than seeing is as a waste of time. But what are managers doing to compare notes on the challenges they face. There will be emails flying around within organisations to share ideas, but probably not in a structured way. And how do you compare notes with managers in other organisations that may have come up with innovative ways of engaging with their employees stuck at home?

To start with, Wisework is offering some free webinars on Managing Home Workers starting on March 25th at 2.00pm. We are planning to produce some other services to support managers who have suddenly found they are managing people who are at home. These will tap into our extensive knowledge gathered from clients over many years and will facilitate sharing across groups of managers. We’ve been talking for years about the benefits of remote working. Now we need to deliver our services remotely and practise what we preach.