Working Remotely: Our New Challenge?
Working remotely has been a dream for some of us and a complete challenge to others. It is the current reality for most people who are considering a career change or businesses that went from the office to home office, this is exactly what the current pandemic situation has made us consider for months now. Although not every business may fit this working method, there are uncountable businesses migrating from their local offices to several platforms to find alternatives to avoid what would be a devastating situation for them and their employees.
As an employee, the challenge comes as a new schedule, new home office space, being able to manage the amount of information and tasks you were given at the office, keeping in touch with team, coworkers, supervisors, managers or customers, spending more time at home working on daily responsibilities. It isn’t more simple from the business manager perspective, you don’t only have to keep your eyes on selling the product or service but also need to keep in touch with the staff, keep them informed, keep the website updated and engage with potential customers and all this happening from the home office you have created to manage this situation the best you can.
As the leader of your business, supporting your team must be essential, always make them feel you are there to keep them informed and in case they need your guidance, this is the best way to motivate them, in a situation where most of them may feel a little uncomfortable at first, you play an important role to promote the good energy in the team and keep your business evolving.
So now that many have already successfully tried working remotely, if you are planning to apply this remote work strategy on your business it is important for you to also understand the challenges that your staff may face, these are some of the most common situations that represent a challenge for workers:
— Team interaction. When you are used to share everyday with your team, the lack of interaction could make you feel disconnected.
— The access to information is definitely affected by the lack of real time communication in the office, at times, not every employee is a computer savvy and technology represents a challenge on itself.
– Feeling isolated or lonely is common as a result or lack of daily interaction in the office, most of the employees run tasks where they interact with others making work remotely a little stressful.
— Home distractions can be common because they will always be tempted to focus their attention on their kids, TV, pets and of course this would affect their productivity.
— Overwork as a result of an unhealthy schedule organization, because at times the employee could work more hours than expected because they focus on the task and forget to take breaks.
Although it all sounds too challenging, working remotely could be as productive as working at the office if we know how to find the proper resources to provide the best performance from our home office and the following tips could help you ease the process:
When connection is the key, communication is everything at work.
As we previously mentioned, communication plays an important role when it comes to our employees’ productivity and it is directly associated to our business success that is why when working remotely, finding the correct platform to communicate with your team is essential.
There are plenty of excellent platforms that would offer chat apps, task management or video conferencing tools, it all depends on your requirements and needs, make sure you let your team know that business accounts should not be mixed with personal accounts and of course, to avoid employees anxiety regarding this new technology, it is important to provide the proper training based on the platform you choose. These platforms are: Google Hangouts, Slack, Trello, Asana, Dropbox, Google Drive, Zoom, Skype just to mention a few of them.
Now that you chose the right platform, you may wonder “How do I keep track of my team?”, regardless the fact that you are all working remotely, the idea of improving communication is not only to send messages or emails with the guidelines for a specific task, you should be able to listen to your employees as well as track how they feel and exchange ideas through conferences or discussions on your chosen platform that would lead to more and better productivity.
Some experts would say these meetings could be scheduled on a weekly basis, since they will help the team feels in their office routine, the everyday dynamic would be recreated by these meetings, providing your employees, the motivation they need and improving their time management.
Since you will be in charge of the business and the staff, as every good leader, you will probably want to include your team in decisions you make. It is important to get feedback from your employees as well as giving them the chance to be in charge of projects and share ideas to promote alternatives in future tasks, employees as a source of infinite creativity are your best allies to give a different direction, a different approach to your business plan, so far from ignoring their opinions, it is worthy to listen to them and support them if needed, this is a good way to promote career growth in the company.
As part of your business plan, there is a very important aspect that would probably attract your employees to join the company, no matter if your remote work is temporary or an established position, as every company, yours may have a culture you must keep, define your values and let your staff know about it, this could also be one of the topics of one of the weekly conferences with them, ask for new ideas to improve your culture or simply discuss your core values, this would help employees create a sense of belonging with the company.
It is well known that although the team is working remotely, the common goal would be productivity but as it was previously mentioned, building a strong link, building trust, motivation, and creating space for consistent communication would help all of us in the process of achieving our common goal.
It is important to remember that socializing is part of human nature which means that setting some social events would definitely motivate our team, taking some breaks along the day would be healthy to avoid the risk of overwork. You may wonder how to set a social event when the current conditions aren’t the appropriate ones, well, in this case, the platform chosen for work conferences would be ideal for a morning coffee break or a happy hour on Friday, team games and what comes from your team creativity is possibly a good idea to promote this important social time.
When you realize how important it is to care about your employees when the team is working remotely, you probably understand that not all conversations got to be business related, this is a good chance for you to build a different type of connection with your staff. To get to know them better, they are supposed to get to know you better too, so break that barrier of the untouchable boss and perform your leader role by showing them you care about them, here is where words of motivation and encouragement work perfectly.
Employees always have a reason “why”: to stay at the company they work for, whether it is learning a new skill, working on the area they love, a good organizational environment or just because they are paid well. Along the years they stay in the company, they work hard to achieve personal and professional goals, their talent, experience and time could be noticed and valued somewhere else if you don’t reward them for their hard work, this is why at times it is necessary to express your gratitude with gift-cards, bonuses, discounts and many other strategies that will build commitment and improve your productivity.
There is no doubt that most of the industries have tried to migrate from the office to a home office due to the current situation and even when this wasn’t the case, those who choose to work remotely face several challenges. From feeling isolated, distracted, uncomfortable, getting used to a whole new work everyday dynamic, to getting used to new technologies, applications, platforms and even companies software that would allow them to actively participate and build the company’s productivity. As we all get used to this new working method and learn every day about it, there are technical and social aspects to keep in mind when it comes to promoting motivation, engagement, commitment and good results as a team leader, in this case, you would be in charge of your team and must learn how to effectively manage all the aspects of your business, including how well your monitor and reward your team for their good work.
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