The Covid-19 has brought about a shift in the way of working patterns in many organizations. For example, working from home (WFH) is becoming mainstream in many industries. If you are a manager or team leader, WFH can provide immense flexibility, especially when working with a remote team. However, the question is: how do you make sure that the work does not suffer?
There are two sides to working remotely. There are benefits, like having access to a broader talent pool, more efficient workspace utilization, and productivity, as fewer distractions exist. And then there are the drawbacks, like communication issues and the lack of face-to-face interaction.
When hiring and managing remote workers, you have to be aware of these potential problems. You need to constantly communicate with your remote workers and be available in case of any critical issues or immediate suggestions. It cannot be easy to keep track of your team always. If we summarize, there can be unique challenges and difficulties that you may encounter while hiring remote workers.
This article will discuss seven remote work best practices that small businesses can begin implementing right away.
Challenges faced, and what are the opportunities?
Remote work has its perks, but it also has its downsides. Let’s have some idea about some of the benefits and challenges :
In a physical workplace, people can engage with each other often, and as everyone is close, it’s straightforward to reach out and solve problems. Employees don’t feel lonely, and there is a significant impact on employee productivity if the employee finds himself connected with his coworkers and gets help from his superiors.
While remote work may seem similar to working from home, it’s an entirely different experience. When there are no doors around, and you have your entire house to yourself, it can sometimes be easy to lose touch with the outside world and ultimately feel isolated.
Decreased Employee Visibility
The chance of being recognized and noticed for your contribution and being included in all relevant company conversations and decisions is gradually decreased in remote working. In a traditional office work environment, the chances of employees getting recognized are much on the higher side.
It is the environment’s visibility that does the job. It usually does not require much effort to be noticed and included as you have face-to-face conversations with your boss, coworkers, and teammates.
In the case of remote workers, the situation is slightly different, and it’s more different if they work on hybrid teams.
Lack of Relationships Among Coworkers
Employees who work remotely feel lack of involvement in day-to-day company conversations. It can disable them from getting more opportunities to interact with coworkers and feel like they’re not a part of the company culture; this could also prevent them from being part of decisions that affect their jobs.
Various Time Zones and Work Schedules
There is a significant advantage of working remotely, and one can work according to his self-made schedule and pace of work. You have the freedom to work independently as long as you are meeting the targets and deadlines.
Everyone’s time zones and work schedules are different, which makes it difficult to synchronise the work.
- It is essential to take time to relax each day, whether it be in the morning with a cup of coffee, lunch with a friend, or even just a quick break to stretch.
- Employees can make personal connections, regularly discuss and exchange their views, and arrange periodic video calls.
- Create a standard time window to share and receive messages and solve each other’s issues and problems.
Best Practices for working remotely
If you are working on a remote team, you might have the temptation to “slack off,” as you don’t have people looking over your shoulder, so working hard won’t be as noticeable as working at an office. However, if your team misses its target, you’ll be the first one to be blamed. Instead, make sure you’re giving your best at all times.
We have jotted here some of the industry’s remote work best practices, which can help you do your work to your full potential without burning out.
Clear Communication among Employees
One of the key component of remote work best practices is clear communication. When employees work remotely or as part of a remote team for another organization, it’s crucial to establish regular communication among all parties. Often, remote employees spread out across time zones, and it’s not necessarily surprising that communication can be difficult in this kind of setup.
When it comes to remote teams that work across time zones, communication should be the number one priority in terms of top concerns. It’s essential to clarify who needs to communicate with whom at what times (i.e., attempt to avoid writing long email chains so everyone knows who can answer which questions).
It’s also vital for team managers to establish clear guidance when managing different communication methods used by remote teams for members to avoid rookie mistakes and do their jobs efficiently and effectively every day.
Robust Problem Resolution Mechanism
A remote worker is all about you who is the supreme authority as, unlike everyday office work, there is nobody immediately available to solve your problems. There is very little room to head over to someone’s desk and tap their shoulder.
Remote work best practices mainly demand a need to wear a creative problem-solving cap to solve day-to-day problems, and one has to think out of the box to solve any issues they face.
As a remote team member, it’s vital to be accountable for certain things. “Hold yourself responsible” for carrying out duties and accomplishing tasks about your assigned job.
Regarding accountability, there must be boundaries about what one has to accomplish as part of their role to move forward from here on out. It’s highly recommended that one hold themselves accountable if they wish to see any positive results in advancing their work.
Accountability also demands that you deliver whatever responsibilities you have. It’s your prime duty to take ownership of your assigned work and adhere to the timeline. It’s essential to make sure each team member is accountable for their actions and feels like they are an equal member of the team.
If people feel like they aren’t working toward a common goal, they are more likely to slack off or not take any initiative. Plus, you don’t have much leverage over remote employees who don’t feel invested in the work.
Remote work is dependent on using practical tools and technologies; it’s an essential aspect of remote work best practices.It’s the robust technology that makes remote work possible to work smoothly. Having the right tools helps increase employees’ productivity whether they are working remotely or onsite.
A single, easy-to-access platform for managing all your work offers an exciting solution. It dramatically reduces the time-to-completion, so whatever project is on the table, you can know what’s happening across your entire organization as quickly as possible, make decisions faster, and deliver on projects with ease.
With an effective employee management tool, employees get continuous training and self-development, enhancing their career growth.
Set Clear Expectations & Goals
From the very beginning, set clear expectations and goals for your employees.
A group of remote employees can be almost impossible to keep on task and may often get sidetracked when the day has too many things for them to finish. Setting goals for everyone can solve this problem.
Make sure that everyone knows their role and pay close attention to each team member. Without everyone knowing what they are doing, how will anyone know when something doesn’t get done?
Specific tasks and responsibilities must be clearly defined; everyone would quickly know who they can hold accountable during busy seasons or when a lot is on their plates.
Employees will better understand what is expected of them, whether getting specific tasks resources or utilizing collaboration tools to stay up-to-date with everyone else working on your project.
Setting goals creates structure and keeps them on track while directing their focus so they won’t have any distractions; do this, and increase productivity.
While working from the office or onsite, employees meet and interact with each other daily. They have a clear idea of what their peers are up to and are free from any types of barriers. The workplace is more transparent and balanced.
On the other hand, it is a different scenario in a remote workplace. As a manager, make sure that you maintain the same level of transparency as it would have been in a regular workplace. This improves productivity, reduces cut throat competition, and removes any jealousy between your employees.
Providing social support can engage employees within a good work environment and eliminate the negative effect of loneliness. Use practical tools to help the team stay in touch. Instead of communicating solely through impersonal phone calls, video conferencing allows people to see each other.
An employee engagement session can be a great idea wherein employees can spend some free time where everyone can get to know each other. It helps build company culture and improve team bonding experience.
On a monthly or bi-monthly basis, small teams must meet together to get to know each other on a deeper level, and this will help build trust and bonding within the group.
Sometimes, it’s nice to organize outings or events as bonding experiences – things like walking tours of exciting parts of your city or attending virtual escape rooms together! We’ve found these to be a fun way for small-time teams to bond while doing something they won’t usually do as individuals.
Remote work policies
Challenges Faced currently
The last two and half years have made drastic changes in work environments, and work from home or remote working has been on the rise. And now most of the companies allow their employees to work remotely permanently.
A recent study showed over one-third of full-time employees would be shifted to remote work in ten years. Though remote work is on the increasing side, the study of Upwork reveals 63% of companies have not yet set policies and procedures.
As remote jobs are a relatively new concept, the companies need time to adopt them. Some of them have not drafted the remote work best practices policies formally. They are not enough to get real-time deliverables from their employees.
Unspoken rules create confusion, and sometimes employees don’t clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Without a clear-cut framework of remote work, it leads to unclear communication between the employees and their supervisor, which is unsuitable for both the company and the employee.
Need for a Good Remote Work Policy
An excellent remote working policy doesn’t dictate its people how many hours or what days they are to work, but instead allows them to be autonomous and make their own decisions.
An autonomous working style is a good compromise between the company’s wants and needs and what employees want for themselves because it can drive high levels of productivity and success.
Like every process has some pros & cons, remote work also has its. And it is the fact that remaining productive always is a bit tough while working remotely. But remote work gives employees more space, freedom, and more autonomy. They can change and adapt to remain more productive and take action in more creative ways.
Companies must provide flexible work options to attract top talent as remote-work preferences create a new work paradigm. Deliberate effort is required to optimize the performance of remote workers.
Want to know how Engagedly can help you mange your remote employees better? Request us for a demo.
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