The pandemic has brought a change in the work industry. None more so than the number of companies that transitioned their workers to full-time remote workers.
Remote work is a great way to do work, and it helps a lot with all the commuting and hustle of transportation. Working remotely has revolutionized industries and, in fact, it can also increase productivity.
Remote work is good, but it’s not as easy as it seems to be. There are a couple of skills you need to manage remote work. Here are six essential skills you’ll need to have for remote work.
1. Have clear expectations for workers
Workers need to know what they are expected to do at all times. Therefore, you need to understand how you will make your workers adhere to their work priorities. To boost the productivity of remote workers, they need to know what they are doing and what you expect from them.
A great way to make workers know what they are expected to do is by having a plan for all your work. First, you need to make clear when employees you should do work — this is especially important if remote workers are in different time zones.
Rather than being prescriptive, another great way to set clear expectations is by asking employees when they are available, or the times of day they work best. With this knowledge, you can set achievable expectations within specific timeframes.
2. Support collaboration within your team
Work collaboration comes naturally when working in person. However, remote work may pose a challenge for cooperation because it’s not face-to-face. To make collaboration happen, you need to provide the required tools necessary for collaboration.
Tools like remote work monitoring software come in handy when it comes to collaboration. With these tools, you can see which remote workers need a little bit of assistance from fellow workers, and you can suggest teamwork.
Monitoring software can also show you the progress of group tasks, identifying areas where extra resources may be needed.
This focus on collaboration with your team will help you achieve goals faster and easier.
3. Promote good communication
To work smoothly, everybody should have an understanding of what is required to be done. Therefore, you need to ensure that communication is passed as directly as possible to workers.
To achieve this, you need to establish proper channels of communication for your team.
First, you should find out what is the best method of contact for your team members. The best way is to ask for opinions individually and develop the ideal communication channels for the whole team. For example, some people prefer short and quick messages, while others want lengthy and detailed information.
It is effortless to develop the right channel with a small team, but a significant group may be challenging. Therefore, it may require extra work and multiple communications tools.
Whether it is video conferencing, team emails, or voice calls, you will need a good communication channel to boost the productivity of remote workers. A best practice is to have one company-endorsed communication channel for each mode of communication.
4. Get in touch regularly
Another way you can manage remote work is through regular meetings. You need a proper structure to handle this. Just like in the office, contact time should maximize the exchange of value and minimize wasted time. Here are some methods you could achieve this:
- Individual and team chats: small and brief chats are an excellent way to get in touch with remote workers. Consider a short daily call of no more than 15 minutes with your team at the start or end of each day. This will help you know how to progress in their work or any underlying challenges when they work. This is also an excellent way to track productivity while working remotely.
- Ask for your team’s opinion: this is another way of keeping in touch with your employees. It also provides a great chance for employees to feel part of the process. Encourage team members to provide feedback on processes, projects, resources and any other daily tasks. Then use this to optimize the way you do remote work.
- Occasional one-on-one meetings: There is a need to have regular meetings with your employees even when they are remote. It is better to have semi-frequent short meetings rather than long meetings that happen after a long period. These one-on-one catch-ups should delve deeper into goals, KPIs, planning and other aspects beyond simply day-to-day operation. Remote employee monitoring tools can be a great way to track the outcomes of these in-depth discussions.
5. Track productivity and performance
Remote work requires a lot of close monitoring. Since workers are not under any direct supervision, their performance needs to be accounted for. Therefore, you need to monitor and review your teams’ productivity and performance regularly.
Tracking helps remote workers improve their work as time goes by. Consider implementing remote working monitoring software that will help you know how to track productivity while working from home.
Tracking also makes workers accountable for all the work they do. As part of the process, provide positive and corrective feedback to improve the quality of work being produced. Giving feedback is an excellent motivator to employees, and they appreciate it.
Furthermore, when tracking feedback, it’s better to become accomplishment-focused rather than activity-focused. Once you provide workers with what they need, get out of their way and let them work their way to accomplishing set tasks.
6. Be willing to manage poor performance
Since remote workers are out of sight, it may be challenging to notice poor performance. However, ensure you are actively monitoring to pinpoint areas of dipping performance. This could mean extra training, support or resources are needed.
Leaving sub-par performance unattended is especially costly as workers may be unsighted about where they are wrong or right. Consequently, workers continue doing work as they are used to, which may cause harm to the company.
To manage poor performance, you need to set clear expectations and coach and support underperforming workers. Also, you should set up a performance plan for your workers. A performance plan will help you follow your workers keenly and notice changes in performance.
If you are unable to reset the performance of your workers, you can seek help from other members of your company. Discuss this situation with them and wait for their response. They may be in an excellent position to help you with that.
Remote employee monitoring software can be helpful when you want to track the productivity of remote workers, helping you pinpoint those in need of added support.
A Final Word
Remote work takes newfound practical skills to manage employees. It’s not like one-to-one interactions since workers have more freedom and distance diminishes immediate oversight.
Despite the challenges, remote work brings big opportunities for your team. And, while at first it may seem more challenging to manage remote workers, remote employee monitoring becomes significantly easier with the skills mentioned above.