As a business, the idea of instant, flexible connectivity to your workforce seems ideal, right? However, while productivity levels rise from the homes of remote workers and employees are unshackled from the office, the trust between employer and employee surely has to increase. For any business, it is impossible to constantly manage the productivity of individuals. I mean, you would never sleep!
(Not me when I work from home)
Keith Ferrazzi, the founder and CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight comments on the requirement of a “proactive approach” from companies to ensure that remote workers feel connected to other employees. Ferrazzi also notes that the number one rule for any employer is to set expectations and due dates for your team. He says that without deliberate targets “things will break down immediately” so checking on employees just as you would if they were down the hall, is vital.
Rebecca Knight writes in Harvard Business Review about how to efficiently manage a team of remote workers as an employer. Geographically dispersed workers are becoming more common in a modern workplace, so alternate strategies to increase the efficiency of your team can definitely be useful.
In addition, as with any modern business, the use of tech is pretty unavoidable. Video chat via Skype / WebEx / Slack / pretty much any phone are easily available and extremely useful to maintain that level of frequent communication with and within your team. This might sound dumb, but Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of organisational behaviour at INSEAD, makes it clear that the key to uniting a virtual team is by remembering to have some small talk for a few minutes during a video call, he talks about how this “builds essential empathy, trust and camaraderie” that binds together teams that are separated by physical distance. In an office you’d have this all the time to bond with your team and grow connections, so don’t let it fall by the wayside when you’re remote.
However, sometimes the distance between people can mean connections are delicate and crossed wires can happen, so it must be handled correctly — but don’t panic! Here are a few examples of what not to do. Try not to forget to acknowledge the efforts of your workers, praise creates motivation! Don’t treat your remote workers differently from your co-located colleagues; applying the same metrics across your whole team ensures that everyone feels valued and equal.