Remote working has been welcomed by many employees nationwide, but some employers may be finding it difficult to keep their workers motivated and productive with the lack of face-to-face supervision. Some may even be facing a decline in performance from their once trusted workers.
A great starting point to resolve this is to consider and understand the new challenges facing your remote workers.
Loneliness could be one of the most compromising issues for people working from home. This and boredom are a recipe for procrastination and lack of productivity.
So, communicate. Keep in touch with your remote workers. Check in regularly to see if they need any help and keep them on task. Of course, the employee must have a level of self-motivation, but it is good to offer regular support.
Zoom calls can be a useful tool for keeping your remote workers motivated. Face-to-face contact is preferable to text, or email. A large proportion of human communication is non-verbal, so visual stimulation will be much more engaging for your staff. Try to keep the calls short as anything over forty minutes tends to be unproductive and tiring.
One-to-one meetings and clear direction will also help. We often procrastinate when we aren’t exactly sure of what we are doing or are worried that we won’t succeed. A little reassurance and more detailed explanation of tasks will go a long way.
Show an interest in your workers. Have you ever had a boss who constantly complained or put you down, never joining in with any social banter? They are unsuccessful leaders and the teams that they manage are rarely world leading.
To motivate your people, you need to care about them. You need to be involved and be able to have a laugh with them. Of course, it isn’t beneficial to go all the way to the other end of the scale. Lead, but with respect. Make sure they are taking breaks to re-charge their batteries.
Remember that your remote workers have professional goals of their own. Nurture these, as well as the business’ goals. If you care about their careers, your workers are more likely to reciprocate and care more about the business.
Keep on top of your own schedule. Particularly if you have a large number of workers, your first priority should be keeping yourself organised with meetings and workload. Keeping on top of your calendar and juggling deadlines is essential for effectively managing remote workers. Ask them to produce daily action lists so you can see how that are prioritising work and getting things done.
If you can barely remember where your employees are in terms of workload or target (if you have a target system) the meeting will be pointless. Employee’s productivity will be derived from your own, so it is important to be accountable for yourself first and foremost.
Lastly, where possible, you should arrange regular in-person meetings with your remote worker. Even if just for once a month this will help strengthen your working relationship and therefore make your task of management easier.
Seeing somebody in the flesh is more stimulating than simply on a screen and, as a very emotional species, we are likely to communicate better this way. If a stranger told you to do something, it is unlikely you would. If someone you know told you to do it, you’d be more likely to listen. Empathy and caring are good motivators, so build and maintain a relationship with your remote workers. It will benefit you and your business in the long run.
But perhaps the greatest motivation is giving your workers ‘space’ by making clear the time frame in which they need to work. No-one wants a 12-hour working day at a desk, even if it is in fits and starts, so be clear about the times when you make contact and be sure to give them a good lunch break too.