"I fell at work and hurt my leg. I need to go to the doctor." This is stated by an employee to a supervisor. The employee works from home and the incident happened at home. How is the supervisor to respond? A supervisor suspects that an employee has more than one job. That isn’t against company policy, but it looks like the employee is “working” two full-time jobs in the same 40 hours and productivity has dropped. How does the supervisor react? A supervisor was in a client meeting with another employee and was embarrassed to see a competitor’s product front and center in the employee’s video screen. What does he/she do?
Not many of us would question the idea that the world has changed in the last few years, but have we provided our supervisors with new tools? I’m hoping at least some companies have now changed their policies to better reflect a remote, or at least partially remote workforce, but unless we’ve done some role playing with the supervisors and/or given examples of current employee issues, how can we expect them to know how to react?
I’d written previously about difficult conversations. Often what can get people in trouble is not thinking through a situation. If we’re working with the supervisors to determine any triggers that affect operations and work with them to understand how best to respond and why, that will help. Most employees want to do the right thing and understand the rules and expectations, but how can they if the supervisors don’t?
As we get closer to year end, relook at your supervisory training. Have you provided enough information that they can appropriately react to concerns as they arise or, better yet, can they prevent problems from occurring? If not, now’s the time to regroup.