by | Oct 22, 2020

In Tribe’s national research with employees working from home due to the pandemic, many respondents complained that they’re working longer hours now because the workday leaks into the evenings. This can have a negative impact on productivity, not to mention employee engagement, job satisfaction and work-life balance. (For some insight on how remote work differs across employee groups, try this Forbes piece: Working from Home is Different for Parents, Introverts and Younger Employees.)

Managers set the tone

Employees look to their managers to see what’s expected in this new normal. If managers make themselves available 24/7, send emails after hours, or even-worse, schedule meetings outside of usual office hours, then that sends a powerful signal. It sets the expectation that work-from-home hours never end.

Office hours still apply

Train your managers to respect whatever hours were typical for the team when everyone was in the office prior to Covid. They may feel that doing a little late night work shows dedication on their part, but ironically, it’s likely doing harm to their team’s effectiveness. Help them understand that when the team leader communicates after hours, even if it’s just responding to non-urgent emails, he or she is setting the example of work-from-home hours extending into the evening hours.

Modeling healthy calendar usage

In almost any job function, employees need uninterrupted time for thinking, writing and getting things done. If their calendars are booked wall-to-wall with meetings, they’ll end up doing that important work after hours. If they get it done at all.

Encourage managers to set an example that gives their team members permission to block out time for work that requires concentration. If team leaders routinely book time on their own calendars to focus on important projects, it lets the team know that it’s okay to do the same.

Sometimes people fear their boss will think they’re goofing off if they’re not visible in meetings throughout the business day. It’s important to demonstrate that work-from-home hours include uninterrupted working time as well.

For more thoughts on coaching managers to more effectively lead remote teams, try this Best Practices one-pager.

Interested in providing your managers with more insights and tools for working from home? Tribe can help.

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