The International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted that by the end of 2020, 72.3% of the total US workforce will be working via mobile. This comes as no surprise. Mobile devices, laptops, high-speed internet, and the cloud are allowing companies to reap the benefits of working on the go. Remote working is just a larger classification of the same idea —- employees opt for out-of-office environments to be productive, while companies save on operational expenses, such as power and labor costs.
Remote working can still be new to businesses around the world. Organizations and managers are still figuring out how to best lead their remote teams. If you are one of them, these tips will help you provide a remote working experience that supports productivity and exemplary work.
Focus on results
Your remote workers will find their own way of getting things done, often balancing work with other life priorities. While some will choose to keep regular hours, others will use their time more strategically to accomplish more. For instance, they may work for two hours, then take a break to do errands or work out, then work another four hours, take a break again and finish off the day with the remaining two hours of work. It will really be up to them.
In a remote setup, it isn’t advisable to micromanage your remote workers’ time. Instead of obsessing on minutes and hours, focus on cultivating the quality of their work, as well as other aspects of productivity that fall in line with your company goals. This means focusing on results, keeping tabs on deadlines, and taking note of good decision-making skills.
Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork
One of the possible disadvantages of working remotely is the isolation. Because of a lack of personal interaction, workers may feel alone or not part of a team. This may be demotivating, which may result in a dip in productivity.
Rather than letting them work alone, you should encourage them to work together on projects. Communication and collaboration tools, especially cloud-based tools that specialize in real-time collaborative work, can greatly help,. This will kindle greater communication and sharing of ideas, which will, in turn, benefit your business. And your remote workers will feel more connected to one another and no longer isolated.
Managing a team over a great distance is a challenge. You can’t just walk over to a team member’s desk or have a conversation with them over coffee. If working together on projects is encouraged, managers also need to take the initiative to communicate often and establish relationships with their teams.
Regular chats over instant messaging platforms and weekly status calls can help to do so. It’s true that addressing upcoming projects and performance issues are par for the course, but messages and emails need not always be work-related. Simply staying in touch can sometimes be the only goal. When building and managing a team of isolated individuals, it helps for members to get to know each other to cultivate cohesion and teamwork.
Video web meetings
Hosting web meetings is another way to build a cohesive remote team and engender shared goals and productivity. To accomplish this, make sure everyone's camera is on, and prepare a clear agenda or presentation.
Keep in mind that these meetings are also opportunities to connect, so don’t be a stick in the mud. Your members should be able to put faces to names and form personal bonds through some levity.
Equip them with technology
Successfully managing a remote team means ensuring your team members are equipped with what they need to work efficiently. You can support them with the right tools that meet their needs.
Since businesses are repositories of confidential and sensitive data, look for applications that allow for secure sharing of files. Look for key security measures such as data encryption and multifactor authentication. Safe collaboration is the goal.
Nowadays, there are secure cloud services that allow co-workers to work on the same documents simultaneously. You may also want to explore options that allow your teams to work on a range of devices. This will give them more options to be productive.
The big picture
Without a clear understanding of how they fit into the “big picture” as far as the organization is concerned, remote workers will feel disconnected. That’s why it’s important to share the company’s vision and goals to the members of the remote team. They should see how their work contributes to the company’s success. This will inspire them to be more productive members.
Training and praise
Remote employees tend to be overlooked when it comes to training. Work to ensure that these employees have the same opportunities for training as your in-house employees. You can explore online training options, like webinars, courses, and video conferencing.
And when your remote workers do well, make sure to acknowledge it. This is still a part of helping them see what they are doing right and how they contribute to the organization’s success. Constructive praise shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an essential part of the communication, engagement, and performance review aspects of managing a team.
Working remotely presents the employee with a unique dilemma —- when to call it quits during the day and how to avoid getting distracted by non-work activities. It’s easy to get caught up in a project or want to make just a little more progress. It’s just as easy to get pulled here and there by errands, kids, a nap, and such. It’s harder to strike a balance between the two kinds of impulses.
It’s advisable then for supervisors to guide your remote workers on how to best manage their time. You can suggest that they stick to a work schedule and find a space dedicated to working. Shutting down their laptops or work devices at the end of the day will also help them be more productive. Disconnecting from work and mentally unwinding will help them start work with a fresh mind and perspective the next day.
Learn more about successfully managing a remote workforce. At SpectrumWise, we can guide your organization in finding the right technology solutions and implementing the right policies to support remote teams. Call us today to discuss the many possibilities!