In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Arizona Governor Ducey issued a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order last week requiring all Arizonans to limit their time away from their home or place of residence except in limited circumstances. On Friday, the governor expanded the order to include additional businesses and clarified other aspects of the order. Employers will want to review the changes to ensure they are in compliance with the latest directives.

The U.S. Department of Labor has added to its list of questions and answers regarding the paid sick leave and paid family leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

An important component of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act significantly expands unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for U.S. workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

As New York continues to be hard hit by the effects of COVID-19, Governor Cuomo announced a three-way agreement on March 17 between his office and both houses of the New York State Legislature on a bill guaranteeing job protection and wages for New York workers who have been quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The bill, which still needs formal legislative approval, will be effective upon the governor’s signature.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that many people will be working from home for a significant period of time. It’s also likely many managers will be leading a completely remote team for the first time.

This no doubt was thrust on both parties with little time to think, talk or prepare for this new way on working.

will call for managers to operate very differently.  We know that the way we engage and
communicate with each other is informal when people physically work together.
Great managers understand their people and can pick up on changes by observing
both individual and team behaviour. 
However, both of these become more challenging as people work from home
or remotely.

There is a huge, positive opportunity here – 80% of people who work remotely say if it’s done well their engagement and morale improves and 62% say they feel more trusted. This is an opportunity to be grasped.

Here are my top 6 tips for managers who find themselves in this position:

Clarify what matters

In times of crises and change people look to their managers and leaders to provide clarity, support, guidance and direction. True leaders will step forward and recognize the importance of their role. They will start by reinforcing why the work the team does is important. 

The more it’s aligned to a compelling purpose the better, this creates meaning. Leaders who are good at this get their people excited about the work they are doing and why it’s important. Leaders need to walk the talk; be visible and available to their teams, but they also need to demonstrate energy and the ability to make tough or difficult calls on behalf of the team.

A leader’s true values will be tested when under pressure. It’s relatively easy to live your values when times are good. However, when success and results hang in the balance an authentic leader will demonstrate what they are prepared to sacrifice and the trade-offs they are willing to make. Leadership is about putting your people first and yourself second. 

Set expectations

Set clear expectations about this new way of working, including your expectations of people’s availability and accountability as well as how often team and one-to-one conversations will take place.  My advice is to do the generic scene-setting with the whole team so they all hear it together at the same time.

Make sure there is plenty of time for questions and ask for ideas. How do we make this work together? Then, have one-to-one conversations with each member of the team about their specific deliverables and what you expect of them and when. Clarity is important but also giving people the space and opportunity to share ideas, ask questions and explore the issues avoids misunderstanding and difficulty later. Don’t rush the process.

Listen and communicate

Team Communication is always an important part of a leader’s role but when your team are all working remotely it becomes critical. Recognise you should spend more time talking, listening and engaging with your people – its important people feel connected.

Firstly if possible use video rather than conference calls but even they are preferable to the dreaded email with all the potential for there is for misunderstanding . The opportunity to use video is a god send in these circumstances and is so much easier today with the tools available such as Zoom, Skype and Google hangouts.

Over 60% of communication is non-verbal so seeing people as they talk enables you to pick up on non-verbal.  Keep the team communicating as a whole – I suggest ensuring regular team meetings continue and to start this new way of working you may want to do it more regularly than normal perhaps 2 or 3 times per week initially.  This gets people comfortable and allows people to test how it works for them.

Allow time for small talk; people may feel isolated or even lonely after a few days with little social contact. A good way of doing this is to get everyone to check in (say how they feel at the moment) at the start of the call/meeting. It’s also a good idea to still do creative or brainstorming sessions with the team asking for ideas or solving problems together this enables to team to feel connected and that they are making a collective contribution.

Encourage one-on-ones

One-to-ones must continue and as with team communication you may want to do them a little more regularly to start with. As a leader ask lots of questions to find out what’s going on for each individual. Set shared agendas in advance and make sure you know what you’re going to be covering.

Preparation is more important for conversations over the phone or video as they tend to be shorter and more business focused. Actively listen to what’s being said and try to avoid assumptions, talking over people and ask questions to clarify what’s meant so you’re not at crossed purposes.

Be friendly

Foster friendships amongst the people that work for you. Apart from the formal calls and meetings encourage people to have informal calls so they stay connected. We know people feel more engaged and passionate about their work if they have confidants and supporters at work. This may atrophy if it’s not encouraged.

People go to their work friends when they need help or want to celebrate or commiserate about things at work. In the absence of that support work can seem lonely and isolating. It lacks attachment. We may like what we do but we won’t be fully energised or motivated if we don’t have close and supportive relationships at work.

A study by Harvard Business Review showed that remote workers are much more likely than on site employees to worry that co-workers say bad things behind their backs, make changes to work projects without telling them in advance, lobby against them and don’t fight for their priorities. Be a leader who fosters a culture of open positive friendships among co-workers – this will avoid these concerns becoming a reality.

Make yourself available

Be responsive and available. Set time aside in your calendar so people know you are happy to catch up on anything. The thing that makes people feel distant is the communication time lag. If people have to wait hours for a response to something they are working on or an idea they have, whether it’s right or wrong people feel it’s not important to their manager.

Setting time aside where your available online or over the phone to provide feedback or insight instantly helps people feel recognized and listened too.

Many of things I propose will feel
unnatural to start with but if you persist then there is no reason why your
team shouldn’t be us productive, creative and energised as if they were all on
site together. In fact, you may find that they perform better and deliver
better results working this way! Out of adversity comes opportunities.

The post The 6 top tactics for inspiring your remote team appeared first on HR Morning.

The United Kingdom government has provided further information in connection with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, commonly known as the Furlough Scheme.

The Fisher Phillips COVID-19 Taskforce has assembled this guidance document, containing answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions, especially designed for unionized employers. The Taskforce also maintains a Comprehensive And Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus on a daily basis for other workplace-related issues.

In a welcome relief to employers, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb has issued guidance on the duty to bargain in emergency situations.

As social distancing becomes the new normal throughout the US and the world, professionals across industries are making drastic and immediate changes to their work and presentation styles.

With the quick shift to working from home, business leaders, lawyers and sales and marketing teams are navigating new terrain—figuring out how to effectively communicate in a way that will achieve a desired outcome while working remotely.

There’s nothing quite like the energy and connection that a face-to-face interaction can create, but we have to try to work with what we’ve got. With that being said, just because we’re in a period of social distancing doesn’t mean that work and persuasion come to a halt.

Remote work was a rising trend before the COVID-19 pandemic, with regular work-at-home growing 173 percent since 2005. With so many additional businesses moving to a work-at-home structure for the time being, it’s safe to assume that broader long-term adoption will become even more prevalent over the coming years.

It’s a good idea for professionals to start learning now how to connect remotely to stay  ahead of the curve. Here are a few tools and tactics that will help you become a successful and persuasive communicator via a remote connection.

Stick to the basics

Even through a remote connection, the basics of persuasion apply. It’s vital that you do your homework and learn about the decision maker. Just because you aren’t meeting face-to-face doesn’t mean that you can skip the groundwork you would regularly complete

What are your target’s demographics? Do they have any special interests? You’ll need to establish an even stronger bond to persuade via remote means, so flex your research talents and learn about your target.

You should also continue to find their needs and pain
points. Learning this information will help you demonstrate to your decision
maker that you understand their goals, even if you can’t see them in person.
Establishing a strong sense of understanding will help you build trust and
allow you to position yourself as an advisor. This trust will be critical for
remote persuasion. 

Leverage technology

Although working from home can create another level of separation from your target, technology has progressed leaps and bounds when it comes to interpersonal communication.

Tools such as Zoom and Skype for Business allow your audience to see your face. You should leverage your entire technology suite to help you persuade remotely.

Visuals must lead your decision maker to your desired conclusion. Create polished presentations to either show via conference call or email ahead of your meeting. When you might not regularly do this when meeting face-to-face, you may consider incorporating a video presentation as well.

Video can be a terrific way to establish an emotional connection with your decision maker, providing for a unique story telling opportunity complete with visual and musical cues.

Nearly 90% of professionals indicated that a strong narrative was critical in maintaining their attention. Engagement with your story is more important than ever, as you’ll be competing with additional distractions including family and pets.

Develop a style

Personal energy exchange is very difficult via a computer screen. You must determine who you are as a presenter in this new medium. How can you be more dynamic through remote connection? Before jumping on a conference call, practice on your computer by recording yourself and playing it back to see how you present on camera.

Think this is taking it too far? Consider the first time you had to leave a professional voicemail and were put on the spot to communicate your needs in a brief message. It took time to sharpen those skills and you’re probably a pro now!

The same is true for online presentations. It might take a few rounds to get comfortable, but at this point in your career there’s no time to fumble. “Practice makes perfect!”

Be memorable

Would you do a face-to-face meeting and not follow up? Absolutely not! You would always follow up with your decision maker and you need to continue that with a remote connection. Think about ways you can stand out in the crowd. How about an old school, handwritten thank you note sent to their home?

During a time when personal connection is minimized, it might be an opportunity to brighten your customer’s day and build trust. Just make sure you send to the correct address. If they’re also working from home, a note to the office will get lost in the shuffle.

Persuade … at a distance

While many professionals are used to persuading through face-to-face interactions, the current climate calls for a new tactic. Just because you can’t meet in person with your decision makers doesn’t mean that you can’t still do your job

Learning to effectively persuade via remote connection is possible, and by following the basic principles of persuasion, leveraging your technology suite, setting time to practice and developing ways to be memorable, you still have a strong chance at leading your decision maker to the desired outcome.

While remote persuasion may take a bit more effort and preparation, you can get the results you seek if you take the time and keep these guidelines in mind.

The post How to be a persuasive communicator while working remotely appeared first on HR Morning.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which confirmed that covered employers must obtain documentation of paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave to get reimbursed.