Many people love working remotely. And many business leaders are reaping the benefits of reported higher productivity of remote staff. However, this has not come without its challenges.
We’ve lost the casual conversation with our colleagues, body language in our communication, and insights and ideas that can be generated through casual encounters. As companies gear up to remain remote in the long-term it’s time to evaluate how we can continue to engage with our people in meaningful ways and continue to deliver value to our customers.
Focus on People Agility
Without a central office, it’s more important than ever to make people feel valued and like they have a voice. Building casual conversation into scheduled 1:1 calls is a great avenue to keep open communication lines with your team. It’s important to not only discuss work, but to check in on how they’re doing personally, and to understand their responsibilities outside of work. What is happening in personal lives affects how people show up. When you seek to understand people on an individual level before making decisions for the team, you will build your teams’ trust in your decisions.
When conflict arises in or between remote teams, seek to understand, and ask ‘why’, rather than presenting answers. Conflict can turn into collaboration with understanding and can build stronger teams.
As communication moves online, many people are suffering fatigue from so many online meetings. To support this, ensure that meetings are action-oriented, and encourage preparation before calls. Making sure people have time in their days to get work done on an individual level is as important as enabling teams to talk, share, and learn together.
Adjust Development, Training & Recognition Structure
Taking an agile approach to results and performance coaching means adjusting current processes to align with new ways of doing business. Without seeing your team every day, it may be easy to forget to check-in, and keep up with the work and projects your team are completing.
However, as people navigate their role and responsibilities alone at home, regular check-ins and providing feedback is more important than ever. Rather than limiting feedback to only direct managers, encourage recognition by peers and other team leaders, and also give people a chance to evaluate themselves. They know what they are doing, and as it may be less seen in a remote environment, give your people a platform to talk about their achievements and progress.
Performance coaching and training opportunities can keep your people motivated during trying times.
Enable Easy Communication and Collaboration
According to the National University Health System’s (NUHS) Mind Science Centre, 61% of people working from home feel stressed and burned out.
Productivity may have increased, but many are suffering from longer working hours, without the previous divide between work and home life.
So how can you help? Equip them with the right tools to communicate effectively.
People are used to having people around in a work setting and can feel lost while working siloed at home. Implementing tools to allow instant messaging and video conferencing between and within teams, can help your company stay connected. Keeping the video turned on during meetings helps to maintain the feeling of connection, as supports communication with visible body language.
80% say they would have better relationships with more frequent team communication while remote working.
Harvard Business Review, Workplace Trends Study, March 2020
When choosing the right tools for your team, here are some considerations:
- What functionality do you need?
- What information will be sent over this platform? Are there security considerations that need to be addressed?
- How easy is the user experience and the interface to understand and pick up, even in teams who may not have previously needed to be very technologically savvy?
- Are the tools compatible with other software you’re using? Can connections and integrations be made?
Embrace Transparency and Accessibility
According to a TinyPulse Engagement Survey, transparency is the #1 contributing factor to employee happiness.
With many teams remote, and some implementing flex work between home and the office, ensuring everyone has access to the same information and work documents is an essential step to improving transparency. Get your whole team working from the same page — digitally. This year has seen the rapid acceleration of timelines to digital transformation for many businesses, however, many remain reliant on paper processes. Almost 60% of businesses report that up to 30% of their processes still rely on paper.
Remove paper processes and streamline workflows by digitising content and making use of cloud-based and mobile-enabled platforms. This will improve the transparency and transfer of company information and ensure all work is accessible to your team no matter where they are.
Updating user access and security settings, ensuring your people have access to their own records and employment information, and implementing project management tools so everyone is aware of what’s happening on projects are great steps to ensuring productivity is maintained, without added workload.
Swingvy recently hosted a webinar in partnership with Decode HR, where we shared our tips on how an agile mindset and culture within businesses can translate and be retained across dispersed teams. Watch the on-demand webinar here.