How to Keep Remote Workers Productive and Happy
By now, you have probably figured out the remote work thing. However, if you are thinking about making it a permanent thing, then you will need to step your game up. The company will have to find ways to make work from home more efficient and productive. The easiest way to take this work arrangement to another level is by keeping remote employees happy and efficient. Here is how you can make that happen.
The remote work environment is highly peculiar. Employees are less available than in the regular office, so it is easy to scapegoat a team member instead of getting to the bottom of the issue first. Accusing and shaming someone openly and publicly in the workplace brings many problems. It destroys trust among management and employees as well as team spirit and morale. After such unpleasant events, things can never go back to what they were before. Moreover, it might encourage managers and employees to knock on your competitor’s’ doors. To avoid such a horrible scenario, you have to be on the lookout and prevent assigning blame immediately to those who can’t defend themselves directly.
Sharpen Sense of Community
Studies suggest remote workers feel most productive and happy when they can make their own work schedules. While this has many benefits, it also has one huge downside. Namely, if employees’ working hours don’t overlap, they will start to lose a sense of unity and community. The team might begin to fall apart. You will be left with high-performing individuals instead of a team. That is why it is crucial to keep staff members connected and aligned. The best way to do this is by offering a combination of tools to improve internal communications and meet their communicative needs. Giving them tools isn’t enough. You will have to work on optimizing internal and external content to make it align with organizational values and beliefs.
Set Expectations and Goals
When your employees were working together in the office, you could have walked over to their desk and checked in on them and their project progress. Now that they are working from home, you can’t do that anymore. There is no way of knowing whether or not they are working to meet goals during the workday. That is why setting expectations and goals are more important than ever before. As their manager, you should define measurable goals, share progress with employees, and let everyone see what kind of impact their contribution makes. More importantly, don’t forget to align corporate goals with its mission and set straightforward expectations. Not only does it help retain the best employees but also gives them a sense of purpose.
Give Access to Relevant Information
Employees feel happy and productive when they have access to reliable and relevant information. What makes them frustrated and annoyed is when they have to spend hours trying to find some piece of information. Apart from giving them access to corporate data, you should make this process as practical and convenient as possible. Therefore, make sure they have access to searchable and updated checklists and files. If you have Millennials as a part of your workforce, you should digitalize operations and information access. They always look for user-friendly content and a unique user experience. Other employees will surely like this feature because then they can easily focus on delivering the best results at work.
Provide Feedback to Employees
Remote employees often feel alienated from the rest of their team. Although they continue to communicate, they rarely have the chance to give or receive feedback. Aside from the direct interaction, this is something they miss the most when working from home. For this reason, you and other managers should make praise, encouragement, and feedback one of your priorities. They are necessary for employees’ happiness and satisfaction in the workplace, even the virtual one. For example, employees can work together using various online collaboration tools. Then, as their team manager, you and other team members can check in on their progress, leave feedback, and offer help. Thus, you will have happier and engaged employees and completed projects.
Keep Advancement Routes Clear
When employees work remotely, they might feel left out when it comes to professional development opportunities and promotion. This mindset can greatly influence their work ethic and efficiency. Therefore, you should always keep advancement routes clear, even when you are interviewing candidates and hiring them. Employees need to know what it is going to take for them to climb up the corporate ladder. This knowledge will serve as a motivation and wind at their back to work harder than ever before and grow alongside the company. As a result, you will able to increase retention rates, lower turnover, and look more attractive to new employees.
Celebrate and Recognize Achievements
When you had all your employees in the office back in the day, it was so easy to praise them in front of everyone. You could have said Well done, or Thank you for your efforts, or Good job and it would have been enough to boost their morale. Today, when you work in a virtual office, most achievements go unnoticed. That is why remote employees often feel uninspired to achieve great things. What could help you to mark and recognize achievements in the office is designing a recognition scheme. This means you should pay attention to your team members, keep an eye on their efforts, and notice when someone stands out. During the next video conference, make sure to bring it up and don’t miss a chance to praise them in front of all team. This way everyone will feel special and included.
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