The biggest opposition to remote work is “employees aren’t productive.” But that’s most managers don’t manage them well. If you provide your remote colleagues with the necessary instructions and resources, they’ll succeed.
How to do that?
Here are the 5 tips to get you started:
1. Clear work expectations from day 1
You don’t want your employees to work hard on something you didn’t prioritize, do you? Or do it in a way that’s opposite to what you demand, isn’t it?
The antidote to this is to let your employees know what you expect of them and the metrics you’ll use to measure their performance. For example, you can say to your marketing hire to deliver 100 email subscribers in the next 30 days, and you’ll analyze the open rate to measure their work.
Doing this will help your employees know what you want them to do and start working toward it. They won’t be confused and anxious—not knowing where to start.
Ensure you clear work expectations on the joining date. Tell them what you expect them to do in the first 30/60/90 days. Entertain relevant questions and clear all their doubts—so they can start delivering.
2. Provide the necessary resources
An employee is as good as the tools and resources you provide them to work with. You can’t expect a marketer to generate leads without analytics, testing, and other tools.
So, ensure your team member has all the required documents, software access, and other resources they might need to succeed. You should even ask them what they need to perform at their best. Note down the requirements and provide them with those things at the earliest.
3. Set a proper communication system
Great and consistent communication is the recipe for team success. For this, you should be visible and approachable. Your colleague shouldn’t fear approaching you with problems/solutions. Your goal should be to make it easy to help them communicate.
Here are some tips to get you started:
a) Tell them the time and communication channel for communication.
b) Respond on time.
c) Encourage them to ask doubts and clarify them.
d) Ask for weekly updates. Tell them to mail you every Friday with what they did that week and what they will do next week. That way, you’ll know their progress.
e) Host performance review meetings every month/quarter. Tell them what they are doing good (in fact, complement them whenever they do good work to boost their confidence) —-so they can double down on it. Plus, make them aware of their shortcoming and how they can improve their performance when required.
4. Provide psychological safety
Per Wikipedia, “psychological safety is the ability to share one’s thoughts and feelings without the risk of damaging one’s reputation or standing.
In teams, it refers to employees believing they can take risks without being shamed by other team members. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.”
When teams feel safe and trust you that you won’t ridicule them for making errors, it promotes employee engagement/loyalty, innovation, and acceptance and communication of mistakes.
Here are some tips to create psychological safety at work:
a) Talk about psychological safety and assure your employees that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as they own and correct them without delay.
But, it shouldn’t be only talking. When someone actually does make a mistake, don’t shame them in front of everyone. Instead, talk to them privately (be empathetic) and ask them to correct it soon.
b) Be open to feedback and encourage people to call out mistakes without worrying about anything.
c) Reward good ideas and risk-taking.
5. Allow your employees to choose their working hours
Different employees do their best work during different schedules. Some are at their peak productivity levels during the mornings, others are at night.
Remote work has allowed everyone to exercise their personal productivity routine. So, let employees work whenever they want, as long as they complete the work before the deadline.
You also have to consider that remote work comes with plenty of distractions: a parent has to manage their work and child, and others have to tolerate family/pet interruptions, background noise, and more.
So, it might happen that the person couldn’t work during the standard 9-5 schedule, but completed their tasks during the night and submitted them before the deadline. Allow this.