COVID-19 has brought about many changes both in everyday life and in the work environment. Many companies faced the challenge of implementing remote work and maintaining stability despite the global pandemic.
The situation in the world is ever-changing but two things are for sure. While lasting implications remain unknown, two early trends are emerging. First, employers are starting to ramp up hiring and demand for talent will significantly increase. Second, remote work is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Based on Predictive Index’s Annual CEO Benchmarking Report 2021, 76% of CEOs say they will allow remote work on a full-time basis for all or most employees. 97% of companies said they will allow remote work in some form even in the future. Hiring is picking up, but it remains difficult to hire on-site employees. Demand is especially high for project managers and business analysts.
The increasing demand for talented employees, the scarcity of potential on-site workers and the growing popularity of employees working remotely make it critical for employers to embrace remote work and ensure managers can effectively manage offsite. To ensure efficient remote work, it is critical for managers to implement processes and systems.
Managing a remote team is not always easy. There are many inconveniences that can arise along the way, from lack of face-to-face supervision and limited access to information to social isolation and decreasing productivity. Given the fact that remote work is likely to continue even after the pandemic, consider the following tips to maximize remote work chances for success.
Determine Your Requirements
Over the last two years many employers have learned that many functions can be efficiently and effectively performed remotely. Over the same time, employers have also learned which functions need to be performed on-site. When acquiring a new employee, it is vital to determine if they need to be in the office full time, part time or fully remote.
These employees will get stuff done even if they are secluded. They still need direction but won’t necessarily need specific tasks to be productive. Live fire scenarios are an effective way to evaluate a prospective employee’s qualities like initiative and problems solving which are common attributes among effective remote workers.
Clear communication becomes more important when managing remote workers. Nearly half (46 percent) of remote workers said the best managers “checked in frequently and regularly,” according to a study outlined in the Harvard Business Review.
Focus & Measure Factors That Matter
Manage expectations and stay focused on goals when embracing a remote work. You need to focus on what is being accomplished, not necessarily what is being done. It is all about accomplishments, not exactly activity. Use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) to identify your company strategy and help your employees see how they are contributing to the big picture and align with other teams. OKRs need to be reviewed regularly, ideally every week and quarter.
Feedback is essential. You need to give to to your team even if you are all working seperately. Recurring weekly meetings with each team member is a must-have. These meetings are critical for discussing work progress, but also allow you to evaluate how the member is doing both on professional and personal scale. You should ask them three questions:
1. What have you accomplished?
2. What are you working on?
3. What support do you need from your manager and colleagues?
Find time for regular all-hands meeting, which should take place at least once a week. During the meeting you will have the possibility to cover what the team is working on, give details on any decisions that may affect the team, give and receive a helpful feedback and maintain an open communication. Having these regular meetings helps the entire team share news and encourage their motivation.
In-person interaction is valuable for any team, but even more so for people working remotely. There is undeniably something unique happening between teammates when they collaborate in person. Additionally, try to manage to give the team a chance to participate together in something fun, like any kind social events. Virtual happy hours also count. Try to organise virtual meetings with off-work activities to take care of good team spirit.
If you haven’t already invested in all kinds of tools making virtual collaboration possible, you should definitely do it right about now. Train your team and develop clear processes to use these tools. Guarantee, that once you start using them, your work will be much easier.
It’s important to turn on webcams during virtual meetings. It is essential, because video provides a positive feedback cycle that engages participants because they can see the speaker’s expressions, movement, energy and passion. Lighting and background are also very important and they shouldn’t be ignored.
Choose the Best Tools
There is not one tool that will meet all your team’s needs. Most teams use a handful of tools, especially as they grow and evolve. Managers must ensure their team is equipped and prepared by staying informed about the latest tools and resources.
Embracing remote working
The challenge for leaders and managers is to simplify remote work so that their team works at exactly the same level as when working in the office. However, it should be remembered that the popularity of remote work is likely to continue long after the pandemic ends, so any changes implemented to processes are likely to stay with them permanently and should be designed in such a way that they can serve for years, enabling remote work.
Managing remote work is supported by many management tools. One of the most popular, Jira is a great way to keep your teamwork organised and well managed. Take a look at our course Jira + Confluence and learn to use it on daily basis, facilitating your team's work.
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