Due to distance, it is challenging looking after your employees in a remote setting. Read on to discover the challenges they face, and ways you can help them with it.
Remote work has been on the rise thanks to its convenience, cost-efficiency, and productivity perks. Now, Tech Funnel’s research has predicted how remote work will dominate 50 percent of the workforce by the end of this year. The global health crisis has played a part in accelerating its growth.
However, remote work isn’t always easy—especially if your company is coming from a traditional, office-based 9-5.
Unfortunately, many employees end up falling behind due to a lack of engagement or troubles of adjusting to the digital setup. This won’t only lead to your team feeling demoralised, but overall company productivity will take a hit too.
Challenges remote workers face
It is easy to assume work becomes infinitely easier when you work from home.
After all, your employees do not have to brave the traffic every morning; they can even work on the comfort of their bed, too. However, remote work comes with its own set of problems.
They burn out easily
With no concrete time to clock in and out, overworking has become a common problem in the industry. People often feel burnt out, mostly because of longer work hours and increased pressure to contribute more to projects.
For new remote workers, it is highly encouraged to give them some structure, so they can plan their day around accordingly.
They feel lonely
Someone who is stuck at home for an indefinite period is bound to feel lonely at some point. In an article on the 6Q blog, it states how a huge reason for feeling disconnected from the team is not being able to interact with colleagues in a more personal fashion.
True enough, findings from the 2020 State of Remote Work Report share how one in five remote workers struggle with loneliness, which affirms how prevalent feelings of isolation are among remote workers. They admit how this can impact their motivation, and thus making it harder to finish their tasks.
While this is usually remedied by working in a different location or meeting up with friends, going out to socialise is no longer as simple as everyone in self-quarantine. Some things company can do to help is to have weekly check-ins and host video calls so everyone gets much-needed face time.
Simply knowing people aren’t too far away should keep your employees from feeling lonely—at least, for a bit.
It is harder to collaborate
Ensuring your virtual workspace is conducive for collaboration is essential for operations to go smoothly and keep your employees happy. A report on Igloo informs that 57 percent of remote employees miss out on important information. This ruins their ability to work efficiently.
To prevent this from happening, have reliable messaging platforms to communicate with your employees, such as Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Basecamp. People should only use emails when they have to send in big files. Separate your projects into channels so they are more organised.
The easier it is for your employees to communicate, the easier it is for them to do their jobs without any hurdles.
Other ways you can look after your remote teams
Of course, aside from helping your remote employees deal with everyday challenges, you can go the extra mile and enhance their lives in even more meaningful ways.
Establish a wellness program
One way to show care for your employees is by creating a wellness program. Whether these are meditation sessions, group fitness classes, or online counselling, having such efforts in place will encourage them to live a life outside of work.
At the end of the day, however, Pain Free Working’s article on employee wellness highlights how basic needs is the root of every successful wellness program.
So while it is nice to provide your team with fitness memberships and fancy gadgets, do not underestimate the productive impact of good indoor light and personalised desks.
It is also a nice reminder for companies to put employee needs at the forefront—and not what they think is good for them.
Trust them to do their work unsupervised
When handling a remote team, many bosses are tempted to micromanage. After all, you cannot see what your employees are doing, much less check if they are working or not.
However, one of our ‘8 Ways to Effectively Manage and Motivate a Remote Workforce’ underscores the importance of trusting your people, and allowing them to get the job done independently. Your responsibility as a manager is simply to provide the best environment possible to ensure they stay productive.
To this end, it helps if you set task deadlines. If they do not meet those deadlines, then it should be the only time to follow up. Asking for updates every hour of the day adds unnecessary stress for you and your employees.
Always provide feedback
Feedback is always appreciated, especially when in a remote setting. For every output, tell your employees if there are any areas they can improve on or if they did a good job. Not knowing your impressions on their work could leave them confused, unmotivated, or even stressed.
Eventually, this can lead to overthinking, earlier burnouts, and more mistakes in the future.
Pay overtime work
Simply because they work at home, doesn’t mean they have unlimited work hours—and most certainly not for free either. If you do have them work overtime, make sure they are duly compensated. You can gauge this by setting definite tasks for the week, and pay additional costs for any extra work.
Alternatively, you can also set strict work hours and count all excess hours for overtime pay. Consider using time tracking software such as Hubstaff and Toggl. Their random screen capture feature lets you know whether they did actual work during their listed hours.
It is your job as their manager and employer to ensure your employees not only stay productive, but also feel appreciated and satisfied. Some rules may be different in a remote setup, but employee value stays the same.
About the Author
Stella Ashwood is a freelance writer with a preference for topics in business and technology. She reads non-fiction in her spare time. Stella hopes to one day start a business of her own.