As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses discovered that the only way to continue operating normally was to allow employees to work remotely. The use of remote working increased dramatically – but what was interesting was that even after the worst of the pandemic had passed and most people could return to work as usual, there was still a huge appetite for home working. And that desire came from both employers and employees, who had been given the opportunity to see the benefits.
So, remote working has arrived and will remain. However, this does not imply that businesses have mastered it. Here’s how to master remote working and get the most out of your remotely working employees.
Meetings and Communication
No doubt, working remotely necessitates effective communication on all sides. This can take the form of efficient meetings to keep everyone on the same page and working toward common goals, but it can also refer to more personal, impromptu meetings. Here are some best practices for remote communication and meetings to make sure everyone knows the situation.
- Establish clear expectations and everyone’s preferred lines of communication, response times, and what information should be shared through which channels.
- Use video conferencing – video conferencing allows everyone to see and hear each other, and you can avoid technical difficulties with a dependable platform and setup.
- Set an agenda – it’s easy for meetings to get off track if you still need a plan, so set an agenda and ensure everyone is prepared before each meeting.
- Meeting results should be shared with all participants to ensure the gathering was focused and productive.
- Encourage participation – regardless of role or seniority, encourage everyone to participate in meetings.
- Follow up – send a summary of the meeting’s discussion and actions after each meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what they need to do next.
Relationship and Community Building
Encouragement of team building and camaraderie among employees has long been recognized as an important part of getting the most out of any team. However, when viewed from a remote working perspective, this problem is exacerbated. When there are few in-person chatting and social bonding opportunities, it is up to you to work extra hard to allow your team members to build strong relationships and foster a great team spirit. There are many ways to create a great atmosphere for remote teams – sometimes, thinking creatively is required, but most of the time, you need to apply the same team-building principles you have always used.
Accountability and Results
If you want to get the most out of a remote team, you must focus on them in the same way that you would an in-house team. Some business owners are concerned that if remote workers are left to their own devices, they will be significantly less productive than their colleagues in the office. Of course, experience has shown that this is not the case, but that doesn’t mean remote workers should be left to work without additional motivators. Instead, remote workers must be managed differently. Because a remote member is not as visible physically, it is critical to establish a rapport early on. As a result, it is even more critical to make a remote employee feel valued.
Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
One of the most compelling arguments for working remotely is to achieve a better work-life balance. The opportunity to avoid the morning and evening commutes and be closer to home at all times can make the concept very appealing. However, some evidence suggests that remote working is not particularly beneficial to our well-being. Businesses must therefore pay close attention to their employees and ensure that.
Development and Expansion
Employees who work remotely may need help to develop skills and advance in their careers. To address this, providing opportunities for professional growth and development is a good idea. Holding regular sessions is one approach, either in person or remotely, on topics relevant to your team’s work. New technologies, industry trends, or soft skills such as communication or project management may be included.
Implementing a coaching or mentoring program is another option. Employees can benefit from regular feedback and guidance from a more experienced colleague, which can be extremely beneficial in helping them develop their skills and confidence. You can help your remote team members feel more invested in their work and more engaged with your organization by providing opportunities for growth and development.
Technology and tools Getting the most out of a remote team may necessitate investing in new technology, which may necessitate some team training. Working remotely can be extremely productive and beneficial to your business. Still, it must be accepted that some issues, such as communicating and collaborating, are made more difficult by not working together in person.
Empathy and Management
When managing a remote team, empathy and understanding are essential. If you are managing a remote team for the first time or have little experience, it is critical to understand that it can be very different from working in person. Managers must be adaptable and understanding of the needs of remote workers. One of the most difficult aspects of remote work is the possibility of blurring the lines between work and personal life. Remote workers may find it hard to switch off from work without the structure of an office, leading to burnout and stress. As a manager, you must be aware of this and provide flexibility in terms of working hours and deadlines.
Well-Being and Mental Health
We’ve already discussed how remote working can increase feelings of stress and burnout. Working in a traditional office environment can leave employees feeling lonely or isolated due to a lack of social interaction and support. Offering resources and support for stress management, mindfulness, and self-care is one way to help your team’s mental health.
Implementing wellness programs explicitly tailored to remote teams is a welcome and effective strategy. Furthermore, encouraging team members to take breaks and participate in activities that promote a healthy work-life balance can aid in the reduction of stress and burnout.
It’s also critical to check in with remote workers regularly and be on the lookout for signs of burnout, stress, or other mental health issues. Creating a supportive and safe environment where employees can discuss their concerns can significantly affect their mental health.
Businesses that continue to have a proportion of their employees working remotely must constantly adapt and refresh internal and external policies, technology, and practices to ensure their remote employees feel well-supported. Remote teams benefit from good lines of communication, the right resources, and management back-up to feel valued and rewarded rather than detrimental to your company’s output and outlook.
Having the tools to develop remote employees can promote personal development and increase employee motivation.
As a result, you are creating a positive workplace culture for remote workers, which benefits both employees and the company. Knowing when and how to implement these changes allows you to build a healthier and more productive remote team, which will help your business thrive in the long run.