Editor's Note: With confirmed cases in 104 countries (as of March 10, 2020), including those with the top 10 largest economies in the world, the pandemic threat will likely impact the business world indefinitely. For example, the global spread of coronavirus is thrusting many managers into unfamiliar territory: managing virtual teams.
In the past week, companies have either enacted sweeping work-from-home policies or offered the option to its employees, especially in condensed cities in states like New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
The headquarters of the world’s largest tech companies are empty. Workers across the glass fields of Silicon Valley and inside the bayside town of Seattle are almost exclusively operating from their home bases, as Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Square, and more have ordered their employees to stay home.
After a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employee exhibited symptoms of coronavirus yesterday, the federal government agency became the first to ask its workers to stay indoors and out of the office.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t seem to think the virus is cause for concern, but companies and organizations of all sizes are taking proactive measures to ensure their employees aren’t putting themselves in unnecessary and compromising situations by sharing an office with potentially infected coworkers.
Work-from-Home Policies Impact Managers, Too
Working from home presents challenges for employees, ranging from technology issues to constant interruptions from children since many schools are closing in response to local cases. But working from home also puts managers in a tough spot.
Most managers don’t receive formal training for leading employees in the traditional workplace. In these unprecedented conditions, managers are now required to learn how to manage virtual teams as they go. Talk about on-the-job training.
So, what should managers with a newly-formed virtual team focus on as they try to conduct business and meet goals that haven’t dispersed while their employees have?