Boosting Productivity of Your Team of Remote Workers

With the ongoing global pandemic, hiring a remote team is one of the hypes trending right now when it comes to building a workforce in a company.

HOW TO BOOST PRODUCTIVITY AND ENCOURAGE YOUR TEAM OF REMOTE WORKERS

     Nunzio Presta
     Senior Sales and Marketing Executive

 

It isn’t just any hype, though. It actually has a lot of benefits and you get more options on who to hire apart from the people who are within the area.

But just like any kind of work setup, it may have some struggles if you don’t make plans or a blueprint on how to make it work. To avoid struggles, you need to know what conflicts you may face. From there, you can come up with possible solutions.

Let’s get down to business and discuss the possible setbacks of managing employees who are working from home and what can solve these problems.

REMOTE WORKERS AND THE STRUGGLES MANAGING THEM

We can all agree that managing someone who is miles away or someone who lives across the globe is a struggle. Distance comes with challenges for employee management. Let’s tackle these challenges and see what are some ways to overcome it.

Tracking work and productivity

Without seeing your employee working in person, checking on their productivity can be a battle. In a traditional work setup, you can just get up from your desk, go to theirs and ask how things are going.

One simple solution to track your employee’s productivity is by having them log their daily tasks and how much time they spent on each item. In this scenario, there really needs to be trust between the employee and the employer; logged tasks need to be accurate and the employer needs to trust that the employee is doing what they say they are doing.

But, if you want a more accurate way to track their work, you can use special programs that employees utilize to record their total hours of work within any given day. Some programs even have the ability to screenshot the computer screen of the employee at random times so you can see that the employee truly is working.

Communication

Of course, communication is one of the most important needs of a company between its employees whether you work in the same building or not. When you have employees not working in the same physical location, there may be some struggles with communication.

Communication between remote workers isn’t as easy as just standing up and going to someone’s desk to talk about each other’s task. To make things easier, programs like Slack or Google Chat should be installed on computer systems universally so that it is easier to interact between employees whose cubicles aren’t right next to each other..

Email is also another option, but a mode that most people prefer for lengthier communication or one to communicate more formal items.

Scheduling Difficulties

More likely than not, your remote worker may be living and working off in a distant place that has a different timezone than yours. With that being said, scheduling meetings or catching up could be difficult especially if they have flexible schedules and can work any time they want.

To make scheduling easier, it’s best to schedule meetings sooner than later, so that all parties involved can make sure to be available. Again, communication is key here. You really want to touch base with your employees the soonest you need to meet about critical matters so that everyone can get on the same page in a timely manner.

Building Trust

Not seeing your employee’s work can lead you to having doubts if they’re even doing their work, or perhaps them needing help but they are afraid to reach out and tell you. This leads to less trust between you and your employee, which could lead to less productivity as well.

Not being able to trust your employees is a big problem. One of the tools to help build trust is using the task tracker and observing their work methodologies especially if they just started working for your company.

If there is something you want them to change, tell them in a professional manner and chances are, they’ll be more productive because of it, and you’ll be trusting them more with their day-to-day tasks.

Company Culture

Building the company’s culture and letting your employees adapt to it will be very difficult if you aren’t able to see each other face to face. It would be hard to schedule events, company lunches/dinners, or any kind of get-together activities that could build rapport and teamwork between each other.

In light of these factors, having open communication with everyone should be instilled especially with people who directly manage someone. Having this kind of communication can make your employees feel comfortable in speaking their minds so you’ll better understand each other.

You might also want to send out company merchandise to your employees who work remotely, so they’ll have physical items to remind them that their company cares and remembers them. Try having group calls to discuss fun activities that everyone would agree to do and schedule retreats if possible.

WORKING FROM HOME STRUGGLES

Working from the comfort of your own home is definitely a great way to earn some money. But even if it has lots of advantages, remote employees do still face some struggles with this kind of setup.

You’ll be able to understand them more and help them with their struggles if you know more about it so let’s discuss some problems of a remote employee.

Distractions

You may have the comfort of working in your own home, but you may also experience some distractions while working especially if you don’t live alone. The people in your household can certainly be some of the biggest distractions.

If you have pets, they may also seek your attention and you’ll probably end up giving into their cute faces. Yeah, you know you will.

Working from home really works best if you can devote a certain area or room where you can work peacefully. Let your household know that when you are working, they are not to distract you so that you can focus on your work and be the most efficient.

Unreliable Internet Connection

Depending on where your employee lives, they might have some slow internet connection. It really does also depend on the plan they signed up with their internet provider, so the faster, the better.

If they have a slow internet connection, their work productivity can also be affected because one of the most important things when it comes to remote working is that quick connection.

To lessen and help with this issue, most companies provide or shoulder the cost of the internet connection so they can get a better plan with faster connection.

Unable to Rest / Overworking

If you are working in the office, after you clock out, you leave the office and commute to go back home, to then relax. If you have these two different places that separates your work and home, you are able to distinguish between your office work and just being home and relaxing.

But, if you work from home, after logging out from work, you’re still in the same place, and you may have this feeling of not getting completely out of work mode because your mind and body still feels like you are still working. There’s sometimes a commingling of sorts and the inability to differentiate between work time and home time.

Because of this, you may tend to overwork yourself especially if you have nowhere else to go. This is something that you may experience especially when you are just new with the remote work setup.

Although, having a separate workspace or room might help in this dilemma because once you are done, you can leave your “work” in the designated room and relax your body and mind again. This will require self-discipline to allow yourself to adjust with the setup. Always remember that resting is important to be energized again for the next work day.

Isolation

It can feel so peaceful not having colleagues who drop by your desk asking questions or just want to talk to you. But also, not having them andand working alone in your room can make you feel isolated.

The feeling of isolation could also lead to being unproductive and could mess with one’s mental health as well. To avoid this, make sure you have ways of communication within the group. As the manager of the employee, it would be ideal for you to check up on them regularly for them to just feel more comfortable.

HOW TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF A REMOTE TEAM

With all the struggles everyone faces in a “work from home” setup, it would not be surprising if your team’s work productivity isn’t as efficient as it could be. But of course, any setback could be resolved if you do take the precautionary measures..

How to amp up your team’s work productivity? Allow us to share some tips to answer your questions and try it to see if these could be effective for your employees.

Centralized Storage for Files

Having centralized storage for files could be considered as a way to improve the team’s productivity. Employees will be able to access files easily, and they could use these files for easier collaboration as well. An example is using Google Docs or Google Sheets. Since these tools are online, people who have access to the files can simultaneously make changes and talk within the file through a chat to discuss the task.

Set Specific Goals

Goals or expectations are important within a team. This is to help each team member to know what tasks are needed to accomplish within the set time frame. Knowing that they were given a deadline is a way to increase productivity as well. Make sure the deadline is reasonable and everyone agrees to finish by that time.

Foster the Relationship between You and Team

Your relationship with your team could directly affect their productivity, so having a great relationship within the team is a must. The more you understand their skills, the more you know how you could help each other improve. Trust should be built between the employee and the manager to have a greater chance of success.

Respect the time zones

More likely than not, your employee is located in a different location with a different time zone .So knowing their local time and respecting it is important especially when giving deadlines or setting up video conferences and meetings. They will feel at ease and trust you more if they see that you respect their time as much as you respect your own.

Have a Knowledge Bank Available for Everyone

A knowledge bank is a great investment either for in-house or a remote work setup. Employees are able to find new processes or even some old ones they forgot about just by looking through the knowledge bank. This would also allow for everyone to have the same information and definitely help with the team’s productivity.

Communication should be there, Always!

In any kind of work, communication is the key to success. If you don’t have a way to communicate with your team, problems could arise and delay the project or tasks. Communication is also a way to build trust with one another and collaborate for projects and tasks. You can use apps like Slack or Google Chat to be able to talk within the team or personally.

FOCUS ON ROWE (RESULTS-ONLY WORKING ENVIRONMENT)

Results-Only Working Environment or ROWE is a contemporary management strategy developed by CultureRX, which focuses on the employees’ work results rather than their physical presence in the office.

With this work setup, your team is able to work anywhere they want and anytime they want, with the condition that they finish their projects and tasks within the agreed deadline.

ROWE setup is proven to raise a team’s productivity due to the reason that they have the freedom to work on their own time and could attend personal appointments or even do household chores when they need to.

To be able to handle this setup, you should have trusted employees who have the necessary skill set, and could do their job independently. They need to be responsible enough to balance their time to meet deadlines. But even if they are independently working on their tasks, they should still be practicing teamwork because their tasks are part of the big project the whole team is working on.

Communication is also important with ROWE because the team may not be in the same place at the same time to discuss or ask about things they are unsure of. Setting up a weekly meeting is ideal to know the progress of the project and lend help for those who need it.

In setting deadlines, make sure it is reasonable based on the tasks you give them and should be measurable too. Give specific job descriptions to each team member so everyone is clear with what is expected from them and what they can expect from you as well.

Have them submit weekly or daily updates, whichever is preferable, so you can monitor their progress. Through this, you can also see and ask if they need some help in finishing the tasks assigned to them. Remember that accountability promotes productivity.

BOOST MORALE!

A work setup, whether in-house or remote, should not always be about just work. Some fun activities could help your team release some steam from work or just to plainly get to know each other more.

Remember that we mentioned earlier about being unable to unplug from work and the feeling of loneliness are some struggles your remote employee could face? Well, to help with those struggles, schedule some activities that everyone will enjoy and could boost their morale.

You can do some team building activities to know random facts about one another. Or maybe do some fact quizzes that consist of questions about random facts from random categories.

Word games or Pictionary could also be played through video conferences or other applications. Physical prizes can be sent out to the winners or they could earn a helpful work privilege they can enjoy within a limited time period.

A movie night could also be done by streaming the agreed movie in a movie sharing app and having an open chat or video conference so everyone could still interact while watching the movie.

CONCLUSION

Taking care of your employees is extremely important whatever the work setup is. Having employees working remotely could have different struggles so knowing those in advance and having ways to deal with them will be helpful.

Keeping open communication is also a valuable aspect that a remote team should have to be able to build trust and camaraderie that could boost everyone’s productivity. Asking how your employees are doing is another must! You need to show them that you care about them and you are there if they need you.

Using new managerial strategies like ROWE could also help in boosting productivity when you have the right people to try it with. Don’t forget about fun activities your team can do virtually to lessen the work pressure and build a great teamwork.

For over 35 years, HR Options® has provided highly personalized solutions aimed at identifying and filling supplemental human resource needs for clients throughout the U.S. and Canada. Whether augmenting your HR department or serving as a complete outsourced solution, our suite of services and experienced professionals will help you navigate through complex and ever-evolving employment regulations in the US and Canada.

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