3 Ways for Managers to Win the Work-from-Home Battle
Posted on May 7, 2020 by Chris Stroud
As a manager, you now find yourself in unfamiliar territory. With offices closed around the world, business environments have shifted to a new work-from-home normal. Gone are the days of taking a quick stroll over to an employee’s cubicle or office to check on their availability, a project status, or to simply see what they’re working on in order to realign priorities.
Employee visibility and accountability has vanished. Your company most likely uses some type of visibility tool, but with limited employee status options like 'Available', 'Unavailable', and 'Do Not Disturb', they left something to be desired. You’re not a micro-manager. Rather, you’re an effective manager and realize visibility at a more granular level could go a long way in terms of creating a more efficient work-from-home environment.
Here are three ways to accomplish just that.
1. Increased Visibility into Day-to-Day Activities
With all due respect to simple software options, how are you to know what 'Unavailable' or 'Do Not Disturb' really means? One of the quickest and simplest ways to increase visibility is to provide employees with more relevant status options for their day-to-day activities.
Creating status options such as 'Lunch', 'Break', 'Meeting', 'Project', 'On the Phone', 'PTO', etc. provides a tremendous opportunity to gain a full understanding of your team's current standing so that you can take action and make appropriate decisions when necessary.
Savance EIOBoard allows you to create unlimited, color-coded status options for employees to choose from via a number of interfaces, such as a browser-based web application, downloadable PC application, mobile apps, and even an Outlook Plugin. All interfaces allow you to view employee statuses in real-time.
EIOBoard’s powerful Outlook plugin allows you to gain additional visibility by allowing employees to sync their Outlook meetings and automatically tie them to a 'Meeting' or other relevant status. This can even be configured to pull the name and location of the meeting into the EIOBoard comment section.
Implementing a wider range of relevant status options will provide the visibility you need as a manager, and don’t be surprised if your employees love the fact that you’re not constantly checking in to see what they're up to.
2. Return Times & Status Alerts
When you leave the office environment and start working fully digital, communication is often the first thing that breaks down. Employees can’t pop in to let you know they’re going to lunch or remind you they’re leaving early for the day. You no longer can visually see employees come and go or (especially important when you need something) know when you should expect them to return.
Automated and manual return times based on employee status selections provides visibility and accountability for scenarios such as these.
When an employee selects a 'Lunch' or 'Break' status, EIOBoard captures the timestamp and can be configured to set an automated time of expected return. Perhaps lunches typically last one hour, breaks 15 minutes, etc. You'll now have these times calculated and available without any additional employee input required.
For PTO related statuses, employees can manually select what day they'll be returning so that you aren't constantly having to check everyone's calendar.
For meetings synced with the Outlook plugin, you’ll know when the meeting is expected to end.
In addition, if you need to know when an employee returns because you need to run something by them or discuss the project they're working on, you can set a status alert that will notify you as soon as they return and update their status.
Employees will also like the fact that they can have the same visibility of others and yourself, leading to increased productivity team-wide.
Working from home can leave you feeling like you're constantly in the dark, but EIOBoard lets you shine a light on these areas that are impossible to solve otherwise.
3. Status History Reporting
Keeping track of employee activities on a daily basis is difficult enough. You're only one person, after all. But being an effective manager means you need to be on top of your game week after week and month after month. Having the ability to assess the productivity of your team over time is critical. You probably have a good memory (or maybe you don't), but keeping track of when your employees sign in and out, what they were working on each day, how many hours they put in, etc. can be a daunting task. When you don't have a good method of capturing and reviewing this significant data, things can get away from you.
EIOBoard Status History Reports solve this problem by keeping a history of all employee status updates over an indefinite period of time, giving you the ability to review the data on-demand.
You may find yourself approaching a deadline and need to know if a project was given sufficient attention. There's a report for that.
Perhaps you're concerned your employees are being pulled into too many meetings during the week, zapping their productivity. There's a report for that.
Or maybe you're in charge of approving timesheets and need a reliable way to confirm hours, lunches, breaks, etc. There's a report for that, too.
Whatever your needs, EIOBoard reporting provides important checks and balances to keep you up-to-date and your team on-point.
You don't have to suffer visibility, accountability, and communication breakdowns while managing a team from home. Contact Savance today for a free web demo and see how EIOBoard can help you win the work-from-home battle.