Remote work is the new norm. Commutes have been reduced and working hours have been altered as more workers set up makeshift workspaces away from their offices.

Many employers around the world have been forced to adapt to working virtually if they want their business to continue to operate. While it may be challenging to conduct business as usual away from the office, employers should set expectations with their employees to better help them adjust to remote work to avoid employee burnout.

Employees aren’t just working from home — many are working alongside spouses, children, and distractions that otherwise wouldn’t exist in the office. Expecting employees to be readily available between 9 am and 5 pm is no longer realistic. So what should you do?

Set expectations
In order for a remote workplace to succeed, everyone needs to be on the same page. Here are some steps employers can take to make working remotely as productive as possible:

• Begin each day with a virtual team meeting with Zoom, which offers free conference calls for your team. Outline strategies, expectations, and project priorities.
• Speak to your team members to understand what their work-from-home situation is like and the distractions they may face.
• Assign work tasks as you normally would in the office.
• Set ground rules (ie: no emails after 6 pm; daily conference calls at 10 am).
• Define the daily schedule by the completion of projects, instead of a 9-to-5 window of time.

Expecting your employees to be razor-focused for eight hours a day outside of the office is not realistic. Instead, assign projects with completion dates. Measure work by its completion, not the hours it takes to complete it. Allow your employees to work when it makes the most sense for them. Set ground rules, communicate often, and send status updates at the end of each day. To help avoid employee burnout at home, while many try to keep the same schedule they do in the office, give team members flexibility.

Don’t work too much
Employers often think remote work will allow employees to slack off. According to Zapier, the opposite proves to be true: remote workers are more likely to overwork. When your personal life and your professional life are both under the same roof, it’s harder to switch off. “When does the workday start? End? Creating a hard line between work/home is tough,” says author and coach Jeff Gothelf. And if you work for yourself, he adds that you might be in never-ending sales mode, which can be exhausting.

Avoid overworking
Give your employees the tools they need to succeed as they adjust to their new schedules.

Set up reminders to take breaks. Remind your team to get up and stretch, move around, take those breaks just like they would in the office.
Be clear with your team on when you’re done for the day. Just because you are working virtually doesn’t mean you are available at all hours. Have your employees communicate when they are available. Use a program like Slack, which allows you to have open communication but also set up do-not-disturb hours and away messages.
Set expectations. Be clear with your team about what you expect from them and when you expect it by. Allow them to make decisions about what needs to be done based on the information you give them.
Be flexible. As the climate changes each day, so will the lives of you and your employees. Allow yourself and your team to be flexible and agile. Remind your employees that everyone is in this together.

Even in these uncertain times, businesses are still growing and companies are still hiring. Connect with one of our Executive Recruiters to start the conversation.