One of the many, many changes that COVID-19 has ushered in is the extreme uptick in people working remotely. Social distancing has made working from home a necessity for millions.
The technology that is allowing remote working to take place has matured greatly in the last decade. Today, it is possible for team members to work from virtually any location. Of course, as with most technologies, there is a potential downside. Accountability can become a significant challenge with remote workers. Of course, the more remote workers you have at a given time, the greater the potential challenges will be.
Many businesses are struggling with the phenomenon of remote working, as it is something new for them. Under normal circumstances, large numbers of employees working remotely simply wouldn’t happen. Writing for Inc., Elise Keith, Co-Founder and CEO of Lucid Meetings, recommended key steps businesses should take to help ensure that their employees stay on target while working from home.
Don’t demand high productivity
To be effective, Keith says remote work environments must avoid four major mistakes. Employers, especially those unfamiliar with remote work, often demand too much productivity right out of the gate.
Remote teams can be very productive and even outperform their in-office counterparts. Put everything you’re doing on one of three lists: Start, Stop, Continue. “Challenge yourselves to get the Start and Continue lists as short as possible while still ensuring critical business operations.”
Don’t Assume this is Temporary
It’s a mistake to assume the current pandemic situation is temporary. Even if COVID-19 disappears, other crises will occur, and it makes sense to be prepared. Why not “get good at working remotely?” Teams with good remote working skills are more resilient now. You can be sure your competitors are working remotely, too.
Be Open to Technology
Don’t automatically ban the use of non-approved tools. Now is not the time to fret about what software tools people are using. “You can’t have it both ways. Either give your teams the resources they need to be effective or decrease your expectations,” says David Horowitz, the CEO of Retrium, a platform for running online retrospectives.
Keith suggests creating an expedited process for the adoption of new tools. If your team finds a new tool that boosts productivity, you should consider buying it.
“Software costs pale when compared to the costs of lost opportunity,” Keith points out. Set aside restrictive thinking and become more open-minded and flexible. Remember, your top goal and that of your clients is to stay in business until the pandemic has passed.
It’s a mistake for managers to dictate hours and response times. Remote work is, by its nature, going to be more flexible. Trying to micromanage every move digitally is simply not a savvy move and will hurt morale.
Instead, Keith thinks businesses should opt for having a daily meeting via phone or videoconference with the team. Consider having a one-on-one meeting with every team member, also.
Adapt and Survive
“Remote work may be new to you, but that doesn’t make it unproven or risky,” Keith says. “Stop trying to control the situation and focus instead on finding the new opportunities created. Remote work is different, so slow down and learn from many of the excellent resources out there.”
Remote work can be highly effective for you, especially when used correctly.
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