Ways to ensure your remote employees are not drifting when working from home.
Working from home has gone from a growing trend to the new reality for many teams and managers.
While having the ability to work from outside of a corporate office has been feasible for a few decades, working remotely is only now becoming mainstream.
There are a variety of ways in which people can work remotely – working from home being one – but another of these ways is taking up space in coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces act as hubs of productivity, community, and technology, offering great network connectivity and opportunities to meet others who work in a multitude of industries.
They can be utilized by people with full-time jobs, freelance careers and even entrepreneurs who want to rent out an office space for themselves or their small staff.
You might even say that coworking spaces are a halfway point between a traditional office and a non-traditional workspace, giving you the comfort of working from home and combining it with the professional amenities and networking opportunities that you’d find in a corporate environment.
Whether remote employees choose to take advantage of a coworking space close to their home or obtain a membership with a coworking space that has locations around the city, they reap the benefits of having location flexibility.
While remote working can be a good setup, at times working from home can result in drift towards unproductive habits or becoming less engaged. So how do managers effectively supervise their remote workers and ensure that their remote professionals do not feel micromanaged?
Here a few successful ways that you can use to address this drift by using some management techniques.
When it comes to managing people that are remote or working from home, communication is key. It is important to have open conversations with your employees—before you even begin to telecommute—so that both of you are on the same page and have the same expectations.
These conversations should cover all the details of the working arrangements. Also ensure you have a single channel of communication with your employee be it, email, Instant Text Skype, etc.
If you’re currently using a mix of communication tools, though your remote employees could be faced with multiple demands on their time that causes their attention to drift.
Try setting a priority for each tool so that the response expectations are clear. For example, you can choose a tool like Slack to ensure seamless communication across the organization by simply setting up channels and threads for groups and topics and incorporating instant messaging for individuals and teams.
By setting the right priority, each employee understands where to focus their energy and attention daily.
In communication most companies opt for tools like; Slack, this will help you stay in touch with your employees without crowding email inboxes. With this tool, one can answer a quick message without disrupting your workflow too much.
Setting schedules and deadlines
Measuring productivity can be a challenge with remote workers unless the metrics are set and check-ins are done consistently. Employees should clearly understand what is expected, and they should have a set schedule to discuss their progress with their manager.
A set of combinations of reporting tools to drive productivity can easily help you track your employees. Also putting together monthly or weekly calendars can help. Weekly or monthly reports can easily help you keep track of your employees’ work. Monthly sessions with line managers and monthly leadership meetings where you reflect on the big picture and ensure our team is aligned with the company’s goals can also help.
This ensures your employees can remain productive and avoid procrastination regardless of their physical location and helps them avoid drifting towards less valuable work.
Having schedules and deadlines helps set priorities hence knowing what projects are critical and (more importantly) maintaining realistic workflows for the employee and the remote manager alike.
Despite the distance, regular check-ins with your employees can help you reduce their drift time. Have a quick, five-minute video chat at the beginning and end of each day could be a good starting point. Like how you would loop in with a manager in a traditional, on-site office.
Even if your projects are more weekly or ongoing, it could be a good idea to check in with each other for the human connection and from a team-building perspective. The supervisor could see if you need anything to support you in your projects or to make sure there is nothing preventing you from progressing on your to-dos.
To ensure your employees also do not drift, you can introduce task interdependence moves, this is where co-workers need one another for access to critical resources like information, materials or expertise, which leads to an increase in remote teams’ motivation, creativity, and team learning. People are more inclined to be managing themselves when they feel that the wider team or even just a couple of other colleagues are relying on them. That way its not only when you’re checking in with them directly that they’re on task.
Keep remote workers accountable
Unfortunately, not every employee can succeed as a remote worker and your recruiting efforts should screen for the appropriate character traits. Remote workers are self-motivated, independent, responsible, confident and have high personal standards for the quality and caliber of their work.
If you find yourself wondering whether your remote worker has gone missing for the day, you may need to up the stakes on accountability through online timekeeping, random calls or establishing a daily check-in schedule. There are several online tools that can help you do that without making your employees feel micro-managed.
These tools can range in purpose and help with project management, messaging, team projects, and even used for team building and developing a positive workplace culture.
By suggesting the use of these tools upfront, you can set up workflows that demonstrate your ongoing contributions, as well as establish the remote work culture for your organization moving forward.
As working from home is a growing trend, it is good if we could end some of the stereotypes associated with “working outside the office’’ and encourage acceptance of remote work as standard professional policy, we all need to do what we can to help both employees and supervisors embrace it in meaningful, measurable ways.