In the final part of our ‘ANYWHERE WORKER’ blog series we look at team and employee behaviours, new management tactics, and best practices shared by employees that drive flex work success.
So you’ve got the business continuity strategy and the agile technology in place. You’ve hired new remote talent and you’ve made work more flexible across the board for your global workforce. One task remains to ensure a successful remote work environment: encouraging new behaviours in your employees.
Despite all the positives, a survey has shown that people also had concerns about working remotely:
- 45% household distractions
- 40% poor team camaraderie
- 37% lack of human interaction
- 30% lost motivation
What’s the good news?
These concerns are all solvable. It’s all a matter of managers encouraging the right behaviours and leading by example. Here are some questions remote employees may face, and how to address them:
“THERE’S TOO MUCH GOING ON AT HOME – I‘M ALWAYS DISTRACTED!”
Solutions: Challenge employees to create distance in their homes. A dedicated, calming, distraction-free workspace can make all the difference. Tactics like timeboxing to-do lists can help too. And distractions aren’t always bad – a 30 minute mental break to make a nice lunch or do some laundry may actually lead to a more productive afternoon!
“I WORK A LOT MORE AT HOME, SO I’M BURNED OUT AND LOSING MOTIVATION.”
Solutions: Ask employees to think outside the 9-5 and find a schedule that works for them. Everyone is different. If someone is more productive in the morning and loses steam in the afternoon, support a schedule that matches their natural work habits. Encourage personal time throughout the day – even build it into the team schedule.
“I FEEL LONELY, AND I DON’T FEEL CLOSE TO MY TEAM.”
Solutions: This is where managers must really invest in building a new culture. Traditional office ‘water cooler’ chatter is often lost in a disparate team, so leaders must pick up the slack and force those water-cooler moments until they’re a part of the team culture. Schedule virtual coffee-talks, happy-hours, and game-nights. Open regular meetings with personal anecdotes, asking others to share as well.
Communication is critical
With teams that have historically interacted in person in the office, communication takes a huge toll when shifting to remote work. Even the best communicators may lose some of their better habits in this new environment. To mitigate this, managers can:
Establish structured daily check-ins. Managers who are the most successful with remote employees recognise the importance of staying connected every day. Whether this manifests in the form of one-on ones, an ongoing chat conversation, or a more casual “office hours” approach, the important thing is that the check-ins are regular and predictable. Employees should feel confident their team is available and their questions and concerns will be heard and addressed.
Provide a myriad of communication tools. Remote workers will benefit from a choice of tools that give them a richer collaboration experience and own how they want to communicate:
- Video conferencing software in particular gives meeting attendees the same visual cues we often take for granted in face-to-face conversations. These cues increase mutual understanding and reducing feelings of isolation.
- A chat application is ideal for situations in which employees are dealing with time-sensitive issues. We like to think of it as the remote equivalent of peering over your desk in the office to ask a question.
Don’t forget to have fun. It‘s worth repeating, but building a strong, positive team culture is possible without being in the same office. It just needs a little more attention. Jot down these fun ideas:
- Set up monthly virtual lunches and virtual happy hours. Take a virtual class together – employees will be psyched to enrich personal skills like cooking, crafting or a workout (on the company time!)
- Unboxing parties – send employees care packages that can be opened and enjoyed on video in real time.
- Play digital board games or trivia
Talk to one of our specialists today to learn more about our remote working capabilities; how we’re bringing people, business and technology together; and what this means for you.