The pandemic has made companies readjust their work arrangements and ask employees to work remotely. It is still too early to tell when returning to offices will be back on the table, meaning that those in charge of an employee group need to be on alert and ensure that the work quality does not suffer.
This article explores steps to boost remote work efficiency and productivity. If you or your manager has been lacking ideas, the tips below should give some inspiration.
Tip #1 – Provide Sufficient Connection
Start with finding a flexible communication platform that allows you and employees to stay in touch.
There are several options for group communication tools, but Slack feels like software that was built for this. You can create channels in Slack to develop virtual office space.
Name your channels with intention, pin important messages for your team to see, send files, use #general channel for announcements, react to messages with emotes, and set custom status for others to see.
Slack also allows for third-party integration tools that improve productivity even more. For example, you can create a Dropbox account for sharing files that would be too large to send via Slack directly, implement Zoom for video calls, or add automated workflows by Ahoyteam for new employee onboarding or offboarding.
Tip #2 – Create a Training Program
Working from home is different, and it may take time for some employees to readjust. A training program is an excellent idea to get everyone on the same page. After all, having even one person lagging behind can be the difference-maker between finishing projects on time or failing to meet deadlines.
Create a list of training goals, emphasize the essential aspects, and make sure that the necessary tools are available to every participant.
Tip #3 – Assign Mentors
A company insider could be just the thing to help first-time remote workers deal with new work arrangements. You do not have to assign an individual mentor to everyone, but it is more efficient when a mentor has to manage a smaller group of people.
You can also hire someone from outside the company, but having someone from within would be easier as the person would already be familiar with the environment and the group of people they would have to take care of.
Tip #4 – Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Regular check-ins should happen at both individual and team levels. Assess how your employees work while they have to stay at home. It is no secret that the challenge of virtual activity can dampen one’s spirits due to social isolation, but a check-in helps remote workers feel like they are part of a team and that someone cares about them.
Tip #5 – Monitor Employee Performance
Working as a remote manager is not the same as working in a physical office setting. You will not have as much visibility on the staff, meaning that it becomes easier to miss an important aspect that could lead to potential errors. Moreover, your employees may lose interest, and that results in poor productivity.
Engagement and performance rely on each other. Work on showing the team the importance of the company aims and objectives and their primary roles. Also, avoid a passive approach. Engage and communicate with the team and pay attention to what they do.
Finally, remember that each person has individual preferences. Some may not be that good with remote interactions and need more time to adjust; others are more keen on self-management and do not need as much micro-management.
The situation can be difficult at times, and it will take a while before you are familiar with everyone’s shortcomings and strengths. However, that is a natural process, and if you put the time and effort into learning it yourself, you will have an easier time management team remotely.
Tip #6 – Help Employees Manage Time
Some employees need supervision that keeps them in check. Working from home makes it easier to procrastinate, and not just because of all the distractions. It is a fact that nobody is watching and judging what you do.
Keeping employees on a leash is a bit of a stretch and can backfire, but you should still keep tabs on their time management skills.
Confirm that your team uses relevant tools, remind them that they should prioritize work and put leisure for when they finish the tasks at hand, and work on honing their multitasking skills.
Tip #7 – Maintain Professional Image in Front of Employees
Leaders should inspire others. Since you are in charge of a team, it is important to look professional so that others respect and follow your instructions.
In addition to dressing up properly, you should have a professional background for video calls, the right camera angle, voice quality, and lighting. Oh, and avoid babbling while speaking on a video call because it will not take too long before your audience loses interest.
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