March 21, 2020

by Barbara Z. Larson, Erin E. Makarius, and Susan R. Vroman

In response to the uncertainties presented by Covid-19, many companies and universities have asked their employees to work remotely.  While close to a quarter of the U.S. workforce already works from home at least part of the time, the new policies leave many employees — and their managers — working out of the office and separated from each other for the first time.

Although it is always preferable to establish clear remote-work policies and training in advance, in times of crisis or other rapidly changing circumstances, this level of preparation may not be feasible. Fortunately, there are specific, research-based steps that managers can take without great effort to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees, even when there is little time to prepare.

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