If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we can do many jobs remotely with great success. What’s more, “the great post-pandemic resignation” is a phenomenon of people quitting their jobs in great numbers, mostly because they don’t want to go back to office work.
The flexibility that comes with working from home is a great advantage. However, it’s much more difficult to motivate your team remotely. The leisurely atmosphere of our homes can make it harder to stay productive.
So what can you do to make sure your remote team is thriving? Here’s what you can do to boost their productivity.
Set Clear Goals and Allow for Employee Autonomy
You may be tempted to start using some kind of tracking tool, but unless your team needs to work specific hours, ditch that idea immediately. The best thing about working from home is being able to create your own schedule and work at your own pace. As many as 40% of people believe the greatest benefit of remote work is flexibility, so use that info to everyone’s advantage.
Some people are night owls, while others are the most productive in the early morning hours. Instead of forcing a certain number of work hours, you should establish clear goals and deadlines and let your employees meet them on their own terms. Working a certain number of hours doesn’t guarantee they’ll finish the project on time.
By providing employee autonomy, you also show your team you trust in them and their abilities. If you need to micromanage someone, track the number of their mouse clicks, and take screenshots of their screen to make them do their job, you don’t need them. What’s more, such micromanagement will make hard-working team members feel resentful toward the management’s distrust.
Take Time to Check In With Your Team Regularly
The biggest challenge of remote work is staying in touch and checking in with your team. Some managers propose starting each day with an online meeting, but this is usually a bad idea. If people work at different times, they’ll still feel pressured to be available at a set time each day just to check in, even if they have nothing to say, hear, ask, or report.
What’s more, this is simply a waste of time for many team members, who have to sit through explanations they don’t need to hear.
Holding meetings every day is unnecessary and could be draining (think of Zoom fatigue), but it’s still important to check in with your team regularly. You could have weekly video conference meetings with the entire team, and use communication tools, such as Slack or Signal, to let your team know you’re available to them.
Make them feel like they can talk to you whenever they need help with anything, establish a relationship of mutual trust, and message them daily just to see if everything’s fine.
Utilize the Power of Technology for Optimal Results
We live in the golden era of communication because there are so many tools available to us. Remote teams can communicate effectively and efficiently using different types of software. We’ve already mentioned some popular collaboration software (Slack, Signal).
Of course, there are various video conferencing tools, which have experienced a boom last year, such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, etc. You can use them for meetings, online team building, quick explanations, checking in, and more.
Also, many of these tools are great because they allow everyone to see and access things at the same time. For example, you can use Dropbox and Google Drive to share files and other media.
There are also various project management tools, such as Trello, Asana, Jira, and others. They can help you coordinate everyone working on the same project without having to be in touch with the entire team all the time.
With a variety of software at your disposal, you can mix and match as you like until you find the best combination for your team. These tools can make everyone’s job much easier and allow you to work as one even if you’re miles away from each other.
Recognize Hard Work
Some studies show that 40% of employees would put in more work if they were recognized, and 63% of those who are recognized are unlikely to change their job. So not only is the recognition of great work essential for productivity, but it’s also the key ingredient of any successful retention strategy.
Since your remote team has greater autonomy in their work, and thus more responsibility, it’s even more vital to praise them for a job well done. Acknowledge their work both in private and public and if someone’s hard work or great idea was essential for a project, let it be known.
Of course, recognition is not only about praise. Make sure to reward the best with promotions, bonuses, and other incentives whenever possible.
Make Effort to Develop as a Leader or Manager
People in executive and managerial positions have a difficult task. Ultimately, no matter how great and hard-working each individual employee is, their collective productivity will depend on you. Keeping a remote team of employees happy and working together like a well-oiled machine is even more challenging.
That’s why it’s important to keep working on yourself. You may want to try executive coaching and leadership development as there are experts who can help you become much better at what you do. Coaching is an excellent way to grow and fine-tune your soft skills.
You should also listen to your team closely. Conduct surveys and ask for honest feedback whenever possible. This way, you can pinpoint any pain points in your management style and try to fix them.
Finally, keep an open mind. Just because you’re in a leadership position doesn’t mean you need to have all the answers. When you’re stuck, don’t hesitate to ask your team or a senior executive for help.