It's important to recognise that everyone will be facing different challenges both personally and work related. Being able to separate these is much more difficult when your home life and work life have come together under one roof.

As a manager, make sure lone working is being managed in line with our lone working policy.

These headlines could help you with managing individuals in your teams in the current circumstances:

Be flexible: even with your regular homeworkers

Even for those who are regular homeworkers, it’s likely their homeworking situation has now changed, with people who are not usually in the house during worker hours now heavily present.

And even if nothing has changed visibly, mentally it will. Their mindset will be affected by the current uncertainty. This is not business as usual for anyone and it’s essential to take that into account. Help your team members to take care of their own wellbeing during this crisis. Read this advice from HR Zone.

For those who have been forced to suddenly work from home, they will need some flexibility in their schedule, as they try different things to find a new way of working for them.

Listen: understand the context team members are working in

People’s living situations are going to vary. This will influence how they approach their work and their communication over the coming weeks.

Spend time understanding the different circumstances of your team. Share your own circumstances and set up, so that others understand how you’re working.

Read this article about how to work from home with kids at home.

Communication: be the connector to the rest of the organisation

As manager or team leader, you'll probably have access to more people and information about what’s happening in Dorset Council. Tell your team what’s going on; be the connector that reminds them how their work feeds into the wider organisation

Patience: be patient with internet connections and other challenges

Even team members enjoying the benefits of the best broadband in their homes might encounter connection issues. There's added pressure with children taking classes online, partners uploading and downloading heavy files, or streaming their video during online meetings.

Turn off video if someone's having internet problems or reschedule for later if necessary. Don’t get frustrated at them for having a poor internet connection.

Trust: not every decision needs a meeting

One of the easiest things to do when you work remotely is to set up a meeting. Yes, they feel different to those you would have in the office, but a meeting is a meeting and it’s familiar.

Use your meetings to check-in on people, have those conversations that are difficult to have by email. Delegate decision-making when you can, and if decisions need to be made in a meeting, consider who needs to be there and who just needs to be informed.

Connect: don’t lose the real-time social connections

If your work doesn’t need you to meet regularly, then set up some informal meetings so you and your team members can socialise. Virtual coffee sessions are very common and effective.

It’s possible that turning up to a virtual meeting might feel strange at first, so try giving the sessions a theme to help break the ice:

  • share things learned recently
  • give tips for creating your home workspace
  • recommend books, TV series or films to watch
  • meet your colleagues' pets

Find these other resources on leading and managing through COVID-19 that you might find useful:

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