Remote work has become an increasingly popular choice among many organizations over recent years. COVID-19 caused plenty of businesses to shift over to remote working to ensure their companies can continue to operate during the pandemic. That massive shift allowed a good percentage of companies to survive throughout the pandemic. Some of them are even flourishing because of this change in the working environment.
Of course, not every company is used to managing a remote workforce. Many of them had to change their direction quickly, which led to some bumps in the road. Even so, they managed to make it through these challenges for the most part. While remote workers are provided some excellent benefits, there are still some issues that arise. Organizations need to address this to ensure their operations continue to operate smoothly. With remote workers needing to achieve a work-life balance, it can be a bit challenging to pull off.
Business leaders want to ensure that their employees are remaining focused on their tasks and projects. Exceptional companies empower their teams to make the most of their working hours even while working from home by encouraging employees to endeavor to create a work-life balance that will leave them satisfied. Remaining focused and positive while working from home is an excellent way to have a productive workforce.
However, it can be challenging to pull this off when there are so many distractions happening around the household, particularly if the remote employee is a parent working from home and taking care of their kids. Even without any children added into the equation, remote work still has its blend of issues. To help your remote employees remain focused and productive, we are going to provide you with some excellent tips to use for your remote team.
Structuring the work schedule
Remote employees are going to be juggling between various things around the house and their workload. Dealing with Zoom meetings, children, projects, and other obligations makes it challenging for remote employees to find a time to take a breather. However, it’s essential to take frequent breaks throughout the day.
According to several research studies, one in three US adults suffers from symptoms of anxiety or depression. With the current problems affecting the world, the uncertainty of our health and financial well-being is a primary concern on many people's minds. It is being intensified by the fact that most of them are largely left alone to deal with it due to social distancing.
If your remote employees are tiring themselves out by taking on too much work, they are going to eventually burn out and collapse. They will forget to take lunch breaks to meet deadlines and worsen their physical and mental health. Managers need to remember that they lead by example, so they need to step up and show their remote teams how to manage their time better. Show them how to prioritize their health and create a productive mindset.
There are many calendar apps you could use to set up a schedule of what to do each day and at what time. Share that calendar with your team so they can see what you're up to and follow your example. For instance, lunch break at twelve, 30 min walk at 2:00 PM, etc. When you are going to have a lunch break with your family members or have a doctor’s appointment, make sure your remote team is aware of this fact. During these moments, you should remind the team that they should do the same. Set an example that others can follow, and you’ll see your team return refreshed and ready to focus on the task at hand.
Make meetings productive
Meetings can be a dreadful event to deal with, even during the best of them. Virtual meetings are particularly exhausting to deal with because you're requesting your remote team to be on a camera. These meetings also interfere with the workflow, and if they are primarily informative, then no problems are being solved or advancing the agenda.
Take some time to streamline the meetings and help your remote team streamline theirs. Try to limit the number of meetings you have to only the ones necessary, and ensure they are attended by only the ones that need to be there. Focus meeting time on the issue that needs to be solved together or ideas that everyone can develop together. Leave the calendar clear from any meetings that are not critical for the time being.
In fact, you can go back and use some of the old, trusted methods you used in high school or college to stay productive. Most of the productivity tips for students can still apply to working professionals and be just as useful.
For the meetings that remain on your calendar, devise a plan. Clarify the purpose behind the meeting, the roles of each member, outcomes, and deliverables. That way, everyone is aware of why they need to be in the meeting and what the outcome should be for this gathering. If any essential information needs to be shared, consider using other available channels, such as emails or your chat platform. If there remains any value in gathering the whole remote team, be clear about the purpose behind these meetings and that the meeting is going to be brief and enlightening.
Even some of the most skilled managers are having a challenging time checking in on their remote team regularly. Modern communication tools such as emails, chat apps, and text messaging still require everyone to read between the lines to grasp how everyone is feeling and doing. It makes it difficult for managers to know if one of their employees is feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or exhausted.
Furthermore, the constant need for having a Zoom meeting can be tiresome for everyone involved. Statistics show that Zoom meetings can cause brain fatigue in most people, and it leaves them feeling burned out by needing to be on screen. Everyone has their preferred way of communicating and shows their feelings differently. Managers need to keep a close eye on any delayed responses, shifty eyes, less-than-ideal work.
Beginning and ending each week with a video conference to get face time with your team is an excellent idea, but it shouldn’t replace any scheduled face-time you have with them. Always remind your employees to take lunch breaks away from their devices. Remind them that they have the option to schedule and take vacation time, even if it’s just them staying at home. This allows them to refresh themselves and come back to their work more clear-headed and focused.
Assign work carefully
With remote workers no longer needing to spend time commuting to their workplace, most business leaders expect their employees to be on the clock much earlier and continue working till the later hours. However, managers need to remember that every one of their remote employees is likely dealing with similar distractions you are facing at home. Aside from the constant interruptions from family members, employees are not used to sitting in front of their desks for hours at a time.
Frequent stretch breaks, refilling drinks, or taking a quick walk around the neighborhood helps everyone remain focused. Studies have shown that extreme workload causes 68% of employees to become less workload. Managers need to hand over less work out to each person so they can focus entirely on one project at a time. If your resources are starting to feel strained, then consider looking for extra assistance. That’s especially true during the holiday season when employees are taking time off. Recruit some part-timers or temporary workers to assist in easing not only the workload but also the pressure.
Plenty of people are looking for jobs around this time for extra cash for presents or solely to make it through the holiday season. The amount of people applying for work increases exponentially, so finding someone shouldn’t be too difficult. Doing so allows everyone to focus on their projects and not worry about the amount of work piling up on the side.
With the technological advances made over the past years, there are tons of tools out there that can help your remote team remain focused. There are plenty of tools that can help track time and attendance in your company. The data acquired from these tools can be used to gain insight into the patterns of your employees, productivity problems, and collaboration issues.
It’s an excellent way to gather unbiased information and then implement solutions to make everyone more focused and productive. When you manage to automate these low-level tasks and help your remote team make the most of the working hours, you can assist them in developing a better mindset and focus on what matters the most.
There are also project management tools that can assist your team stays focused. Tools like Trello are valuable among remote workers since it helps everyone know what tasks they need to complete. They allow managers to check up and see what their employees' working habits are and how to assist them in allocating tasks more effectively. It also provides another way to see when someone has far too much work on their hands and help them delegate it to someone else. Along with the time management platform, tracking projects and tasks can help improve productivity, increase focus among team members, and make their work more streamlined. It’s also a good idea to use tools to make their everyday tasks easier, such as quality photo editing software or any software related to their jobs.
This includes social media scheduling tools that allow you to schedule posts ahead of time, so you don't have to disrupt your workflow to make minor social media posts or check-ins that ultimately sap your productivity.
Focusing on one thing at a time will guarantee your remote employees can get everything done on time. They will remain productive and spend less time concerning themselves over the amount of work they need to complete. Help your team remain focused on what matters and ensure they take frequent breaks to refresh themselves. Doing so will increase productivity and efficiency, granting your team the opportunity to deliver high-quality work.