With the blink of an eye everything changed. The coming and lingering of COVID-19 was an unpredictable and challenging shift to every physically occupying business. With strict health control set around the globe, no choice was left but to suddenly work from home.
Whether or not you had a strategy for this remote situation, the pandemic called for immediate improvisation; centralized offices were torn into individual’s homes, and even when logistics were figured out acceptingly, productivity became the next big question.
How to keep a remote team working productively, connected? What if there are too many distractions? Plus, how in the world would a manager measure the true dedication of an employee?
By now, statistics suggest remote jobs will remain in dominance even after the pandemic. Digital adoption is here to stay, so if you find yourself in a related situation, then keep reading for useful tips on remote productivity.
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Staying Connected Despite the Distance
Regularly checking in is one of our golden tips. Without the presence of a physical office, reading your team member’s emotions becomes a bit trickier. This social sensibility skill is the key to harmonious cooperation, so make sure to implement consistent communication via phone calls, messages and video conferences.
Along the line, studies indicate stress levels have risen amongst workers since COVID-19, meaning an act of empathy towards your team members will undoubtedly be appreciated.
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Too Much Control will Work Against You… Trust in Success
When in a high ranking position, there is a tendency for overcontrol. What do we mean with this? Well, wanting to be seen is rather typical manager behavior. Excessively frequent check-in’s, an overloading request for reports… This is counterproductive.
The bottom line is , everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued and respected. Isn’t it encouraging when someone truly believes in your capabilities? Doesn’t that rock your potential to a higher expression? As a manager, this is indispensable wisdom!
Instead of putting pressure and trying so hard to control every detail, give your employees a sense of trust and watch how positively things unfold. Micromanaging is ineffective.
Chiming in on every fraction will transmit lack of belief; providing freedom and trust naturally creates desirable results. Apply this by giving your team autonomy when working remotely. This will not only serve them positively, but also release much stress off of your shoulders.
In order to keep the team engaged and working productively, it is important to balance between seriousness and playfulness. Dedicate some group time to games, food, outside parties and other activities! If you are wondering how to do this remotely, here are a few ideas:
- Online games! Simply create an online version of your favorite office entertainment. Send each other photos, videos, have a video group call– whatever it takes to set an easy going vibe and team building sensation. Multiplayer gaming platforms are all over the place- find something suitable for your group and enjoy the prizes.
- If group activities are not particularly intriguing to certain members, propose one-to-one options such as online chess, Solitaire, Tetris, or any other popular game. Chances are, there is a digital version of almost anything you can think of.
- Send birthday cards and cakes to homes.
Is There Enough Structure in Place?
Surely autonomy is necessary, though remember balance is needed in any concept, or even the greatest ideas turn against themselves. Too much control may lead to high pressure, and too little presence may lack stable effort. In search of balance, we find structure.
As a team, ask yourselves the following questions:
- What are our short-term goals?
- What about long-term goals?
- Would a to-do list be helpful?
- On which basis? Weekly, daily, monthly?
Regarding physical placement, is there enough structure working at home? If necessary, provide your team members with any necessary furniture in order to create a productive workspace that feels grounded, comfortable, and somewhat distraction free.
- Desk & chair. Do you really want your employees laying on the sofa with a laptop? Though that sounds comfortable, it is not really sustainable for working long hours. Encourage sitting with a straight posture and positioning the computer screen at eye level. This will prevent any neck pain and enhance productive levels.
- Brief pause every 30min. Take a moment to walk around, stand up, switch positions and come back to your desk. This will improve focus over long hours and keep your body sore free from all the sitting.
- Don’t underestimate the distractions of your home! While working at home, there are numerous things that may pull away focus from professional tasks. If you or your team are used to working in a centralized office, then this is even more likely. Make sure to remove common distractions from your established workspace. If possible, separate your desk into a less cluttered room and politely ask for no unnecessary interruptions from any family members.
Use Digital Tools
There are countless online resources that facilitate a remote working experience. From organization of files to tasks, activities and easy communication, here are a few tools for your team improvement:
- Google Drive – Share all kinds of files, from documents to data sheets, presentations, drawings and maps. The paid version ‘Google Suite’ even provides video conferencing and hangouts.
- Slack – A great chatting platform for businesses
- Trello – Visual project management, team chats and analytics
- Asana – Another easy way to manage team tasks and projects
- Pipedrive – Effective organizational platform for any team activities
In this article we have covered several tips to improve your remote working team experience. From staying connected via online tools to psychological tricks, setting a home workspace and keeping the team engaged, there are countless ways to ensure a productive flow even during the most challenging times.
Remote jobs are here to stay, so take notes for a successful strategy!
by Julia Arguello Busch