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An open-door environment is more than a policy outlined in an employee handbook. It speaks to a culture that encourages all employees to approach members of management with questions or concerns, as well as suggestions or feedback. When encouraged and brought to life, it means that organizational leadership maintains a true pulse on the organization and can feel confident that the team is communicating any concerns, issues or challenges. All that said, working remotely and adhering to the rules of social distancing add a whole new twist to staying connected, and keeping the door “open”.
It takes work and effort to maintain an open-door environment in our current situation. Here are some general practices and expectations to help support productivity, while maintaining some of the benefits that teams experienced when they were working under the same roof.
Schedule online team meetings to stay connected and engaged with employees.
Schedule one-on-one online pulse meetings once or twice weekly to get a read on each individual employee.
Have open online “office hours” where employees know you are standing by, waiting for them to connect and discuss anything on their mind.
Pay attention to the participation, or lack thereof, from employees.
Lastly, in order to maintain an open-door environment for the length of this stay-at home order, managers must fully support and live up to the expectations that come with it. They need to be available for their employees, listen deeply, and most importantly act or follow through. The best open-door environments make employee feedback, questions and suggestions a casual, “every day” part of working. When true transparency and free-flowing communication between employees and managers exist, amazing work can happen, even during a pandemic!