36.2 million Americans are projected to work remotely by 2025. And with 82% of employers expecting to allow employees to work remotely after the pandemic, it’s not surprising that more people are likely to work from home than ever before.
But to make the most of what remote work can offer, you must also be willing to shift how you manage your teams so that the fact they’re not in the office becomes an advantage rather than a liability.
But how can you boost employee productivity when they’re working remotely? And what types of strategies should you utilize?
Let’s explore below.
Communication is a crucial part of success in any business. But because remote workers can’t be engaged in the office or be immediately present to participate in talks and consultations, you need to create processes that will facilitate communication across your company and ensure that everyone is always up to date on what’s happening.
A good starting point for achieving that is to learn how to communicate effectively as a leader, instilling these same best practices in how your employees share information amongst themselves. Because communication between in-office and remote workers can be tricky, you need to make sure your team understands how to communicate clearly, in a way that’s easy to understand, and by providing the relevant context that paints the complete picture of the situation.
At the same time, you need to consider your team’s tools to communicate remotely. For starters, you need a solution like Slack that can help with group and one-on-one messaging, as well as various channels for discussing different topics. You also need a convenient solution for hosting video meetings, and a task management tool that will help keep track of progress and leave feedback in a centralized place.
Help Employees Establish an Effective Home Workspace
A home can be a challenging place to work with. There will always be chores to do, distractions to avoid, and other factors that will make consistent productivity harder to attain.
And as an employer, it’s your responsibility to put your team in a position to succeed. And that means not just giving them the right software tools they need to communicate but also empowering them to maximize productivity in their home space.
To achieve that, you should develop a process and guidelines that help employees set up a productive and effective home workspace, providing them with the right environment to focus on their work.
For example, you could provide guidance to your employees about setting up a space where there will be fewer distractions. You could even issue a laptop, work phone, and a monitor that will help them become more engaged in their work and create a space that feels more like an office. You also want your employees to feel comfortable, so make sure they have a good ergonomic chair and a nice desk.
Many employers that don’t have a lot of experience with remote work are concerned about how their remote teams spend time. They are worried that without constant in-office supervision, people working remotely will end up slacking off on the company’s dime. Some even resort to using time-tracking apps that control and micromanage every second of an employee’s day, creating tension and friction that eventually leads to burnout and a fractured relationship with the employee.
To avoid this, consider taking an entirely different approach, focusing on key performance metrics based on results instead of time spent on tasks. If you establish realistic and ambitious goals and regularly check in to see how the job is progressing, you will empower your team to take responsibility for how they spend their time, allowing them to focus on the activities that yield the best outcomes.
And if your employees exceed expectations and finish tasks faster, you should not view it as a bad thing but rather be happy that you have competent employees you can count on to always deliver quality work on time.
The key part of succeeding with remote teams is being willing to give them autonomy in how and when they work while being present whenever they need guidance or help. As a remote team leader, it’s your job to establish relationships that make your remote team members comfortable about reaching out to you because you won’t be able to feel out who needs help as you might be able to in an office setting.
Running an effective remote digital business requires creating the right environment for your team to succeed. You not only need to provide the right tools but also need to bridge the gap through effective communication and the willingness to help your team work through various problems.
The steps discussed above are a good starting point that will help you become better at managing the needs of your team and maximizing the productivity of your remote digital business.