Covid-19 is one of the gravest crises faced by the world recently. With millions affected and no permanent solution in sight, it has forced the world to acknowledge this new truth of life and transform the way this world has lived and done things, until now. Remote working is one of them!
As per world reports, more than 88% of the world companies today are either working already (on will) or are forced to work from home (varied lockdown rulings); which is touted to soon become the new normal. The concept not only enables the workers to maintain a comfortable work-life balance, but is also proven to increase overall business efficiency. Apart from savings on employee time (wasted in commuting traffic, etc) and maintenance costs, it also helps in creating a happier workforce. But does it really happen?
Tips that can help you revamp your remote ream’s Output
We herein provide simple tips on how you as a team leader, can effectively grow your business fabric by managing remote employees, in the best way possible:
1. Regular timely Check In’s: The biggest issue with work from home culture is the absence of proper discipline. Since remote workers are not under the constant gaze of team leads, they tend to have a laid back attitude in terms of tasks to be done. For this, as a team leader you could schedule a regular morning sign in and check in process. This could be done daily at the timings when your office hours normally start. For better affictivity, try and keep this process visual, to ensure your team member is present for work; fresh, awake and full of energy (just the way it should be!). Video communication will also help you gauge employee reactions to daily work aspects.
You should also then discuss and create a list of to-do tasks of the day, documents to be handed over, etc. It shall help you keep a check on the ground covered by the employee on the work day. A work call at the end of the day, shall give you a clear perspective of tasks finished and those that are needed to be done the next day. If you think that the work is either going too slow or not as per your requirements, you also might have to connect with them in between the work day.
2. Ample Use of technology: This is mandatory for all work from home employees as well as businesses enabling them. Technology outreach with ample internet connectivity and lower internet tariff rates are in fact the primary reasons why work from home has been possible for so many people and businesses worldwide, covid or no-covid.
As a team leader employing individuals on a remote basis; you should check for technology options (both hardware and software) available with the team members. Your remote team should be well-equipped with fast processing laptops, wi-fi, webcams, etc. that you think they would need for work. Moreover, if you are in a field of sensitive data, such as financial information, your employees should have best secret chat apps into their smartphones to make sure nobody stalks you conversation to steal the data.
Websites and Mobile Apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts are nowadays readily used for meeting and video call options. But, video meetings are not the only technology criteria to be sorted for smooth work-flows. You would also require easy file sharings, one-on-one as well as team communications, etc. So, to make remote working a permanent phenomenon, using microsoft teams and Flock, could be a better idea.
3. Try and make remote workers too a regular part of your team: Remote workers generally tend to feel left out as they are mostly not a part of day to day communications, team banter, team zones, exercises etc. But, as a team leader, it is your duty to ensure that such issues do not hamper the psychology or work efficiency of your remote work team. For this:
- Provide them with all your company peripheria, including t-shirts, sippers, bags (whatever the works you might have) to make them feel included.
- Try and connect with them on a one-on-one basis at regular intervals. Clear and concise communication is necessary for both work efficiency as well as team building.
- Try and connect them with the team, wherever there is a need of work perspective or decision making in respect to their work.
4. Manage outcomes, both for your team as well as for your remote employee: This aspect goes both ways. As a team leader, you are at the center of your work pyramid, wherein you need to work for achieving company goals as well as help in achieving individual career goals of your remote workers.
Remember, your remote employees are also individuals looking for growth!
They might not say it often (as they tend to communicate less), but they also require appreciation, work clarifications, expectation’s understanding, amongst others.
For this, you require to develop and maintain a proper feedback system vis-a-vis both, from your side to the employees and from employees to you. It will help you manage your remote team with clear expectations, goals and growth culture.
5. Holistic Understanding: One of the biggest issues that generally companies have from their remote workers is the general lack of focus.
You will have to understand that, when an employee suddenly begins remote work (as has been the case with millions due to covid-19), they tend to feel disoriented in terms of daily work goals, work requirements, etc. Physical and emotional isolation, distractions at home pulling them in multiple directions, children engaged in home-schooling, ringing of the doorbell every hour; are some of the other obstacles that they do not tend to take into count; but have to nevertheless face in a work from home culture. This leads to piling of work again leading to late night work and then again a lazy beginning to another work day. In all, a total chaos.
In order to find meaning within this chaos:
- Inspire them to follow a disciplined day regime; to ensure timely work hours, timely food and family time, etc. This will help them actually maintain a work-life balance which they yearn.
- Provide them with short term work goals to manage work easily.
Covid-19 has laid millions unemployed, instilling a genuine fear amongst those still working. As a team leader, ensure that there are no undue pressure on your teams. There should be clarity of work and work environment with no space for fear or complexity, whatsoever. Remember, that a positive environment develops a positive employee doing positive work for the company.
Become the mentor they want
Everyone has been facing tremendous ups and downs in these times, especially in terms of health and life of their families and loved ones. Be compassionate and listen to all the forgivings amongst your team. As a team leader, provide them with a shoulder to rely on in these difficult times. Provide them with flexibility in terms of work hours and work deliveries, wherever possible; whenever you feel they truly require it. This will help you develop as a mentor, and not just a business leader.