This post is a guest contribution from Grace Morris, Digital Content Specialist at Traqq.
New remote work COVID-19 statistics show that 74% of companies will embrace telecommuting and remote solutions permanently after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions have become the new normal in the workplace. In fact, it is no longer an option, but a basic requirement for successful business operations.
In response to this shift, as an employer or team leader who is in charge of a globally distributed workforce, how can you ensure that your people remain engaged and productive? How do you make sure that team members don’t experience feeling unmotivated, pressured, or stressed in light of changing responsibilities?
A recent finding by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) shows that:
- Nearly 71% of employers struggle to adapt to e-work as a way of conducting business
- 2 in 3 employers have a difficult time maintaining employee morale
- 35% of employers have to deal with changes in employee productivity
The transition to remote work displaces some of the personal connection that can aid in interaction, making it more challenging for leaders to keep their team members motivated and productive. For this reason, we’ve come up with a few tips, best practices, and productivity tools for remote workers to help you manage your team more effectively and achieve the best results.
Make expectations clear
Remote workers should understand what’s expected of them from the start of any new assignments. This means you’re responsible for:
- Providing necessary guidelines for performing required duties
- Setting a clear work schedule with defined hours
- Showing employees how their tasks are being evaluated
- Setting relevant performance goals and KPIs
At the same time, it’s important to be transparent about how the company as a whole will be held accountable as well. This creates mutual trust and understanding and encourages teamwork. Ensure that you are available to answer any questions staff may have at any time during work hours.
You can use specialized project management tools, such as Asana, Trello, and Monday.com to keep your team informed, aware of their responsibilities, and mindful of deadlines.
Enforce proper time management
Team performance can hardly be successful without efficient time management. Remote workers might fail to maintain a healthy work-life balance since they are not bound by the four walls of a traditional office space.
Even when you set a work schedule, team members could become engaged in other activities that prevent them from making the best use of time in order to meet established goals. On the other hand, some might fail to organize their work hours in such a way as to prevent fatigue and burnout. From a cultural perspective, it’s important to emphasize taking regular breaks and sticking to schedules.
Managing a remote team also means considering time zones. Schedule meetings and manage workflows in ways that accommodate every individual on the team.
Time management software solutions such as Traqq, Timecamp, and RescueTime are useful in monitoring team productivity and ensuring effective workdays.
Ensure smooth collaboration
Collaboration is the heart and soul of any business or establishment. You need an efficient system that facilitates workflows and enables your core team to work together on assignments, store and transfer important files, share ideas, and more.
Dropbox, Google Drive, and Rubex are popular file management services that many remote employees find useful.
Keep communication a top priority
Always maintain frequent communication with remote staff so that they are aware of expectations, deadlines, schedules, and other information that will be useful. Determine the channels of communication that work best for your team, whether that includes phone calls, email, instant messaging, video chats, or other options.
Communication frequency depends on each individual and the level of motivation they need to get things done, in addition to the amount of pressure that’s too little or too much. It will take time to understand each team member’s unique contributions and habits. It is also important to keep your staff updated on new policy changes and practical tips for remote work success.
Instant messaging services such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and HipChat help facilitate company-wide communication.
Create space for conversation
Coming together in a physical workspace presents opportunities for spontaneous interaction. You can walk by someone’s office and ask for updates on a task, see how well they are managing the workday, and offer encouragement. You can even gather a team after the day is done and spend some leisure time together. Such opportunities might seem like lesser priorities, but they encourage rapport and boost morale.
Flexible communication is different for fully remote teams. While you may have the right tools in place, it often takes extra effort to encourage casual or social conversation. You’ll need that extra nudge to keep you and your team on the same page.
Apart from assigning tasks and passing occasional notices, it is important to hold one-on-one meetings where you can check in on team members as individuals. Provide space for them to share how they are doing, both professionally and personally.
Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts can help your team connect and foster a sense of community.
The bottom line
When managing a globally distributed workforce, efficient communication and collaboration are crucial for maintaining employee morale and achieving goals. Fortunately, innovative cloud technologies make it all possible. However, it’s important to observe remote work best practices to ensure that you keep your team engaged and ready to contribute their best work.
Remote work resources
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