Supervising Employees in the “New Normal”

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2020 may have ended, but the impact of COVID on our businesses is here to stay. From an HR perspective, this “new normal” includes increased expectations from employees for remote work options, flexible work schedules, and social distancing in the workplace. While being a supervisor was hard enough before COVID, it will be more difficult due to these expectations.

The good news for supervisors is that the basics of good supervision remain the same…1) establish expectations, 2) monitor progress/results, and 3) providing correction, as needed. The challenge is that the “new normal” will increase the need of the supervisor to formalize interactions with employees. “Drive-by” supervision will not be possible if the employee and supervisor are each working remotely. Calling someone into the office for a quick follow-up won’t be possible if the supervisor and employee are working at different times. A conversation during break won’t be possible if the break room is closed to ensure social distancing.

Bottom line, communication will be a challenge in the “new normal” and supervisors should make plans to communicate with their employees on a regular and frequent basis.

Stephen H. Murphy, SPHR, is the president and founder of Carolina HR. He has been active in Human Resource management and consulting for over thirty years and brings his experience in a wide variety of HR situations to his clients.

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