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How do I look after my apprentice best if they are working from home?
Quarantines, lockdowns, and self-imposed isolation pushed tens of millions to work from home during the last 18 months. Although many have returned back to the office on a full time basis, working remotely continues on some basis for a large number of companies. So what can you do as an employer to help your apprentice should they need to work from home?
Here we offer our best tips and guidance!
Provide structure and routine
Structure and routine are essential for anyone working from home but particularly for an apprentice who is new to the working world.
Help your apprentice to stick to a routine by setting clear expectations for when they should start and finish work and take breaks throughout the day. Keeping it as close to their ‘normal’ routine when at the workplace will help them to remain in the work mindset.
Ask about their workstation and offer advice on how they could set one up that mimics their normal office space. Is there a dining table and chair they can sit at perhaps? Is there any tools or equipment they need that you could supply them with?
One effective way to provide structure is by setting regular catch up calls with your apprentice to share current and upcoming tasks. Provide them with small targets to help with their focus and if necessary, set achievable deadlines to reduce procrastination and improve motivation!
Establish clear and effective communication systems
It’s vital to establish a clear communication system with your apprentice early on. It’s likely they’ll have questions regularly so reassure them this is okay and let them know how best to ask.
Your apprentice may have been comfortable asking questions in the office but when they can’t see what you’re doing they might be unsure when and how they can contact you.
Together establish an ideal communication system, whether that be Slack, email, whatsapp, video calls etc. As working from home continues, revisit these systems and consider feedback from your apprentice. Is there anything you could be doing differently?
Once you’ve chosen the communication method, don’t just assume everything is okay if you don’t hear from your apprentice. Check in with them at the start of each day and make sure they have a list of tasks to work through.
It can be time-consuming, so it might be a good idea to ask a member of your team to support and mentor the apprentice whilst working remotely.
Also, don’t forget to ask and listen to how they’re doing themselves. Are they speaking positively about the work? Do they mention they feel anxious or stressed about anything? Make sure you offer genuine advice and encouragement, working from home can feel isolating so communication is important for their overall wellbeing.
Review performance and offer feedback
It’s especially important to monitor your apprentice’s productivity and quality of work when working remotely.
Are they completing work within the timeframes you set or are they struggling? If so, a chat to work out a new strategy and see what could be causing problems might be necessary.
On the other hand, if they are meeting targets then don’t forget to offer some praise and gratitude! This can go a long way to boost morale and motivation and keep productivity levels high.
Mention their accomplishments and give fair, helpful feedback that can improve their future work. Also ask if they have any questions or concerns at this point.
Continue to train them
Remember, your apprentice took this opportunity to learn, as well as earn a salary.
Therefore it’s important to find the time and resources to allow this learning experience to continue even when your apprentice is working from home.
Why not send them informative blogs, articles and videos that could help develop their industry knowledge or get them to research an area they aren’t familiar with yet?
Working from home can also be an excellent time for them to focus on their apprenticeship coursework. Ask what progress they have made with this and if they can dedicate any time to getting ahead of it all!
For more support and help recruiting an apprentice make an inquiry and speak to a member of our team.