Are you working as efficiently as you can on a remote basis? Some of you may have been working from home before this pandemic; however, this way of working may be new to others.
To follow are some best practices to help you navigate the remote working model no matter when you began operating this way:
Flexibility Makes a Big Difference
Many employees favor working remotely. It’s up to you, as the employer, to recognize the legitimate reasons and the difference it can make in the attitude and lives of your team.
The ability of individuals to create their schedule is a huge plus for many, provided all projects or tasks are completed in the desired timeline. This one small change allows them to take care of personal things such as caring for children, doctor’s appointments, and other necessary tasks that fall by the wayside when “trapped” in a set schedule. Not to mention the stress it causes. Again, this is dependent on work being completed on-time, as promised, in the quality that’s necessary for your business.
The above will also depend on the industry you’re in as, in some cases, the remote model isn’t possible. It would be best if you also chose team members who are self-starters and then set clear boundaries, so there is no confusion as to what is expected of them.
Clear Lines of Communication
To pay your team, you must have happy customers/clients, or you won’t have the revenue to do so. It’s essential to have a smooth and transparent line of communication with your clients. Just because it may seem obvious to you, it doesn’t mean it’s clear to them. The best way to find out if it’s working is to ask them. They will appreciate the fact that you respect their input.
On the other side, you need to ensure it’s easy to communicate with your team and visa versa. There’s nothing worse than a good employee or third-party vendor in the middle of a project who doesn’t have a way to reach you. Not only could it delay a time-sensitive project, but it can also be a frustrating way to work. There are many tools out there to allow for team collaboration.
Getting Personal Goes a Long Way
Working remotely does have some potential adverse effects on the remote worker. While working in an office, there is interaction with the company leader, where they have the opportunity to express how they’re feeling.
It’s crucial to check in on a one-to-one basis to ask how they’re doing, get to know their kids & animals, and talk about what’s happening in their lives. Ask them how they feel about their current workload. Make sure to truly listen and respond respectfully, so they continue to feel comfortable talking openly with you. There are so many instances where miscommunication blows out of proportion simply because an earlier conversation didn’t take place, or even worse, the team member did not feel comfortable coming to their direct supervisor. On the other hand, you need to be open about areas to improve, so he/she knows what is expected. This extra step goes a long way toward reducing burnout and allowing them to be their best selves, which in turn benefits the company. A happy team member is a productive team member.
If your team is truly on overload, and business is doing well, it may be time to think about outsourcing some of the additional tasks to a company that will partner with you and your team to fill in the gaps.
Encourage Small Work Groups
Do you have more than one team member? And, do they work together on specific projects? If so, formal working groups may help to keep them on track, even if it’s just two people. If they are working in separate time zones, be mindful and consider their schedules.
Working together allows them to brainstorm about the project, update each other on their specific progress, and introduce new information relevant to the project. Again, there are many virtual tools to help facilitate a successful meeting and track progress.
Show the Love
Money may be a key factor in some cases, but it’s incredible how far an open show of appreciation, even a verbal one, can go.
This gesture isn’t just about your team employees, but your customers/clients. In a remote model, unfortunately, we lose personal connectivity, and you don’t want to fall into the trap of losing touch with those that matter. Sometimes it’s a phone call or even a fun yet personal gift sent to them. If you show you still care and that it’s not all about connecting via the computer or spreadsheets, it will go a long way.
By letting people know you value their hard work, and business, you increase your brand value.
The remote model works best when you are open for suggestions, run your business with a firm, but flexible hand, and demonstrate appreciation.