Not everyone likes working from home. A lot of people prefer the structure that going to a workplace provides to their daily routine.
Even harder is managing remote teams. Especially, if working from home is new to your organization. But given the current crisis, remote work seems set to be the new normal at least for the foreseeable future. Here are some tips to help you boost the performance of your remote workers, and keep them motivated.
Set clear expectations
Communicate on a regular basis with your staff. Let them know of the changes you’ll be making in daily operations as you switch to remote work. Apprise them of the services your business would still be offering to clients. Be clear on whether you expect daily updates or weekly reports from your team.
Record work hours and allow flexibility
You can use software such as BrightHR to track staff hours and breaks taken. This will create accountability and discipline in your remote workplace. That said, allow for flexibility in work timings where needed. If you have employees with kids or ailing parents who’d prefer a flexible schedule, be open to it. Doing so will improve their well-being and productivity. It will also foster a sense of loyalty towards the company that takes their needs into account.
Put virtual meeting takeaways in writing
Working from home means the majority of your communication will be through virtual meetings. Make it a practice to put in writing, either in an email or a shared document, the key points of a meeting. Doing so will avoid confusion and possibilities of botch-ups.
Set realistic deadlines
When you carve out tasks for your team, make sure everyone is clear on the deadlines. But also make sure the bar you set is achievable. Setting clear deadlines avoids unnecessary delays. It also helps workers prioritize tasks and take ownership of their work.
Provide support & training
Make sure all your employees have the tools and resources they need to work remotely. If any worker is unfamiliar with a software or technology that you are switching to, train them on how to use it.
Address performance issues
If an employee has been frequently botching up, schedule a video meeting and talk to them. Find out the reason behind the change in the worker’s performance. Given the current crisis we are living through, it could also be due to a mental health issue. If that is the case, get them the help they need.
Build a culture of trust
Delegate. Don’t micromanage. Micromanaging is demotivating. It makes your staff feel you don’t have faith in their abilities. It also leads to a high staff turnover rate. Treat your employees like responsible adults. Give them ownership of their tasks and trust them to get the work done.
Customize your management style
Some people are more productive working from home. Others may not be as comfortable. Some workers may prefer detailed instructions and face-to-face support. While others only need clarity on goals and deadlines. Tailor your management style accordingly. Not only will this approach help you get the best work out of your team, it will also save you time and energy.
Build team rapport
Camaraderie among your staff is good to have even in normal circumstances. It becomes even more important when working from home during a pandemic. Workers may feel isolated and disconnected, especially if they live alone. To build rapport among your employees you can pair work buddies to stay in regular touch. Organizing virtual socials or game nights every week is another way you could get your staff to bond.
Get feedback from employees
There is no rulebook on how to handle the COVID-19 crisis. Like doctors and governments, businesses too are playing it by the ear. Be flexible in your approach. Be open to new ideas. Get feedback from your employees on your remote work strategy. Find out what is working, what is not and why not. Doing so will make your staff feel involved and valued.
Lead by example
To be an effective manager, make sure you follow the rules you are setting down for your team. For example, if you are asking them to learn new software or use a new technology at work, know it inside out yourself.