Remote working, once a popular new trend in business, now a reality for millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, most teams now operating remotely were not prepared for this sudden shift but have had to adapt quickly because of the global health crisis. That means there are hundreds of companies struggling to keep on top of workflow whilst at a distance. Luckily, those who have a little more experience operating remotely have some pearls of wisdom for anyone struggling to adapt to the new normal.
Documentation Is Key
When you’re no longer able to quickly glace across the office to see what everyone is working on, keeping track of who is responsible for what becomes really important. This doesn’t mean domineering Big Brother style over all your employees, just that you should implement a way of assigning tasks, reporting on progress and delivering projects that will keep all remote working employees in the loop. This might be solved by using team management software, increasing status update meetings or instituting a new reporting procedure.
Break Down Tasks
Another downside of dividing your team is that large projects become unwieldy and hard to keep track of. Berger Erikson, a business writer at Paper Fellows and Boom Essays, recommends breaking tasks into smaller, ore manageable chunks. “Setting more moderate milestones and asking your team members to regularly report back on their progress will make it easier to track the status of your projects. Try involving your staff in creating these milestones so that the process works for them as well as you.”
Feed Back and Recognize
With increased milestones and reduced communication, it’s very easy for your remote employees to feel like their work has increased without a corresponding increase in recognition. That’s why it’s essential that you make feedback and recognition a priority of running your remote working teams. Staff should feel like the increased attention on their status and progress is deserved, and should be recognized for the extra work they’re doing.
Not having a physical office, shared space becomes more important than ever. Susan Phipps, a marketing blogger at Australian Help and State of Writing, says you should “take advantage of softwares that allow your team to collaborate and share ideas, experiences and conversations. Everything from a cloud storage space where documentation can be shared to social channels where office banter can continue like normal. Try and make the transition to remote working as easy as possible for staff that are used to seeing eachother every day.
Take Care Of Your Staff
Productivity is not all about meeting goals and tracking progress, it’s also about care. In an unprecedented global situation like the one we’re all going through, it’s only natural that there is a shift in how your staff are working. The answer to that is not to set more demanding targets, or to pretend they can just shrug off their stresses and keep working remote. Much more effective is to be attentive to your employees’ mental wellbeing: implement policies to allieviate stress, and provide support for those struggling. You’ll find that a happy workforce is much more motivated.
Right now, communication is harder than ever, which is exactly why good communication should be your number one priority. Do your best to keep your staff connected to their management, their support systems and to each other. This might mean investing in new technologies or revamping old practices, but it will be worth it. While we’re still unsure about the future of working situations, it’s a safe bet to invest in a productive remote working environment.
Kristin Herman is a tech enthusiast and a project manager at Academized. She writes on workplace productivity and wellbeing for online magazine and blogs, such as Essayroo and UK Writings.