If you have any remote or hybrid workers on your team, sooner or later, someone’s internet is going to go down. How you handle this will say a lot about you as a leader. Here’s how to get it right!
1. Did the dog eat their internet?
If your employee has a track record of struggling to keep up with work, it may not be the internet that’s having an outage. Obviously, accusing someone of lying is a delicate matter, but you may want to reassure them that they can safely be honest with you. Make it clear that if they lie again, there will be trouble. But as long as they’re honest, you’re happy to support them in managing their workload.
2. Is your conferencing software the problem?
When there is a genuine problem, it’s not always the Wi-Fi. If an employee falls offline during a video conference on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, or similar, it may be that the service itself is overloaded. You can avoid this in future by using a platform that has a dial-in option.
3. Subsidise mobile data
In a temporary emergency, like an internet outage in their area, your employee might be able to use their mobile hotspot to do their work. In that case, consider subsidising them for the data they use.
4. Let them have the time offline
Another thing you can do in a brief emergency, if they can’t work offline, is just let them take the time off. It’s not their fault, so make them feel valued by not pressuring or punishing them.
5. Subsidise better equipment
If their internet keeps dropping out, you may want to consider buying them a better router, an ethernet cable, or a Wi-Fi extender. It’ll pay for itself in increased productivity.
6. Create an IT help process
Most people don’t know what to do when their Wi-Fi goes out, beyond maybe turning it off and on again. If you have in-house IT support, create a process employee can follow during working hours to seek help.
7. Invite them into the office
If your employee keeps having connection problems, can you set up a contingency plan for them to work at the office during an outage? Obviously, this won’t work for everyone, but being prepared is helpful if you can.
In summary, outages are bound to happen. When they do, show you’re a good leader by being proactive, patient, and generous.