Remote working during a pandemic means a host of new pressures.
These include but aren’t limited to home-schooling kids, navigating a small space where you and your partner are both working (and they talk really loud!), noisy neighbours, or even scrambling desperately from a team meeting to intercept your weekly online food shop down three flights of stairs.
The real challenge for leaders at the moment is motivating their teams to hit those important business targets, while keeping an watchful eye out for signs of overworking or stress.
This isn’t easy.
People can be less visible in a virtual workplace and in the current job climate, potentially less vocal when their workload becomes too much.
We asked FanFinders’ co-founders for their thoughts on how managers can be more attuned to whether their team is working too hard.
“In these strange times, we need to be even more aware of the pressure we put our teams under,” says CEO Alec Dobbie. “I’m not a fan of the 70-hours a week, 12-hour days culture, and I think it’s often counter-productive.”
“Even though arbitrary deadlines can be a productive tool to get a team focused, they should be realistic, even more so with home-based workers, who often have kids and partners around all the time.”
“Above all, we need to concentrate on outputs not inputs and make sure that where we are putting pressure, it’s driving meaningful change for the business and not just creating pressure for the sake of it.”
One key, according to CMO Neil Stephenson, is thinking longer-term:
“It’s very difficult to judge an employee’s workload both ways when working remotely: Have they got enough to do? Are they overworked?”
“Some people naturally think the more you’re doing, the better, but we really don’t want people putting in too many hours! We want long-term happiness and it’s important to strike a healthy work/life balance (especially in a pandemic).”
“We try to encourage our people to get themselves in that sweet spot.”
For CCO Adam Gillett, it’s about focusing on individuals:
“With remote working, it’s important to be in regular contact with your team and direct reports.”
“Some of us are more intuitive than others and it never hurts to just ask if someone is ok, especially if they look exhausted, worried or are behaving differently. Video calls are great for this.”
“Everyone responds to pressure differently, some put it on themselves and some managers put huge pressure on their teams. We all have targets and KPIs to achieve but mental health is more important.”
“We offer the team apps like Calm to help, Audible subscriptions so they can take a break and hopefully, they know that we’re here for them whenever needed.”