The current crisis has forced companies into the work-from-home experiment, notwithstanding if they were ready for it or not. It is not an option anymore.
And while remote teams do have their ups, for now, the downs seem to be dominating. And, since many organizations are obligated to adopt the new normal, managers should plan for the shift with minimal impact on employees’ productivity.
Scroll down to find out the factors that impact remote teams. Also, find some productivity hacks to bring your team onto the right track.
Why Are Remote Workers Less Productive?
The shift from in-office culture to remote set-up can be a sudden thrust to many employees, and the reasons are numerous:
Limited and improper communication can leave the employee confused about their duties. Unlike in the traditional environment, you do not have the chance to communicate face-to-face, and that can misinterpret the message, leading everyone unclear about their responsibilities.
Communication becomes an even prominent reason if the teams work in different time zones.
Meanwhile, over-communication erases the gap between their personal life and career work, leading to psychological problems on an individual basis.
Lack of (right) technological tools
While tools also play a dominant role in the traditional work culture, it becomes a greater necessity to have the right tools while collaborating remotely. Be it the tools concerning work or integrations for communication — employees must receive the right tools.
While providing them with any new or advanced tools, also give them proper online training to work efficiently.
Managers need to adjust the managing process and adopt one that suits remote teams. For instance, managers could call in for an immediate meeting and find the employees within minutes into the meeting room while working in the office. But the same will not be practical with remote teams; instead, team leaders should notify them in advance. There are numerous such things that should change while managing distant teams.
Tips to increase the productivity of remote teams
Remote Productivity tools
From collaboration to task and project management, tracking progress to data-driven decision making, employees must have the right tools to perform better. Some helpful software to consider are:
Find apps and softwares that are easy to use and also are efficient:
- To collaborate via video calls, emails, and discussion platforms to post relevant information and ask questions.
- For sharing, managing, editing documents with the team in real-time.
- To inform about tasks and organize all the work.
This also holds for the team leaders and managers; they also should have the appropriate tools for scheduling, arranging virtual conferences, asset management, and more.
Remote workers are often concerned if they’re billed fairly for their efforts. To ensure they are receiving accurate pay, use a time clock calculator like the automatic hours calculator TimeCamp is. The tool tracks time automatically and fills the timesheets with time entries and, if necessary, with computer activities.
Based on tracked time, managers can analyze employees’ time and productivity thanks to the wide range of preset and custom reports. With an automatic time tracking and attendance management features, TimeCamp is also a huge payroll support.
Right Remote Management
Team leaders play a significant role in deciding whether the remote teams will be as effective and efficient as they were in the traditional workplace.
Effective management is achievable only when managers realize that they are working remotely. It is only when the managers set their minds they can continue to set the employee’s minds. Some best practices are:
Set clear expectations
Unlike in-office culture, it is critical for managers to not leave the responsibilities upon employees. It may have worked well there, but without supervision, your employees might not lack the commitment. So, team leaders need to distribute responsibilities individually.
Integrations like Trello and Asana allow you to track individual employees’ progress on a daily basis.
Along with discussing the project status, responsibilities, it is also vital to give them constructive criticism.
Defined office hours
To ensure work-life balance, team leaders should set defined hours. Yes, the most considerable advantage of remote working is flexibility, but it can hinder them psychologically. Thus, unless it is too important, it is best not to expect more from them (in terms of time).
Shared calendars avoid any conflicts of schedules, appointments, and individual responsibilities. From increasing efficiency to removing redundancy, a shared calendar keeps everything organized and manageable.
However, not any calendar; as stated, effective communication is critical in remote teams, so utilize one that suits your fast-moving companies like Google Calendars or Outlook.
Advanced Shared Calendars
Additionally, with integrations like Itrezzo, you can share and sync to Android and iOS devices of the employees. This comes in handy when you have to notify the team of any immediate schedules.
Remote teams require unified tools to remain competitive and relevant as scattered resources are the biggest killers of organizational productivity.
Collaborative teams did bring all things into a digital workplace; still, without a unified platform like a cloud server, all the applications, data, tools, and collaboration features, employees feel scattered.
As a result, they spend more time gathering information and driving consensus.
Adapt the New Normal
Working from home does not have to be different; managers can set the employee’s minds to adapt to the new culture.
Get together: Working remotely gives the managers less chance to interact with the employees. So make time to interact with the team members either individually or together besides only communicating regarding work. Moreover, managers can plan out weekly or monthly online interactions for the whole team to reach about personal matters.
Build trust: forcing schedules, extra work, or unnecessary and over communication will indicate that managers do not believe the employees, and they might give preference to doing it fast than doing it well.
Of course, different teams have different needs, but for remote work to work, these are must-have:
- Stack up the right tools, be it for management or communication
- Work on a unified platform to reduce redundancy
- Set clear expectations, track progress, and give regular feedback
- Schedule virtual meetings only when absolutely necessary
- Use shared calendars to be clear of responsibilities
At the start, it is considerable for workers to be low-paced. But that should only be in the beginning — it does not have to continue. All that team leaders have to do is equip employees with the right tools, and while doing so, have belief in them, and you will see them perform like before, if not better.