There has been much debate over the past several months about the benefits and drawbacks to fully committing to a remote workplace. As a leader, one of the biggest concerns — or at least unknowns — of this transition has been how to monitor employee productivity and progress.
Here are some of tips for striking the right balance:
Create an Open Platform for Feedback
While regular team meetings are essential and a great way to find out how your team is performing, it is not always the best way to learn out how each individual is doing. For example, team members could be putting on a brave face in front of their colleagues during a call: Outwardly, they appear to be coping well with their workload and in a positive frame of mind, but it may not be the reality.
Make it clear to everyone that you welcome honest feedback. Give them a safe and private space to voice any concerns about how current working processes could be improved, about their workload or about any interpersonal problems that are affecting productivity. Without this feedback, you may not see a problem until it is too late, leading to missed deadlines, low productivity or even turnover.
Ensure Employees Understand New Processes and Responsibilities
When you shifted to remote work, you likely made some changes to some of your processes. Some may have been small and easy to adapt to, while others (for example, delivering presentations and collaborating with teammates remotely) are likely a more significant change. Make sure your team members have received training on these new processes to maximize buy-in and compliance and minimize confusion, wasted time and lost productivity.
Let the Results Speak for Themselves
By now, there has been enough time to see what’s working and what’s not. If results are good, the team is clearly handling remote working well and, “If it ain’t broke,” there’s no need to fix it. However if results have been poor or are starting to drop, it’s time to look at a new approach.
Before you rush into making changes, take the time to try to identify why you’re seeing issues. It’s important to deal with the root cause of the problem, not just the symptoms. Try using a team management platform that allows each team member to enter his or her daily tasks in an interactive grid. This grid will enable you to quickly identify bottlenecks and high and low performers. With this information, you will be able to understand where the issues are coming from and why.
Whether you had already been considering remote working or the change was unplanned, the last several months have highlighted the strengths and flaws in many business models. Ultimately, if you trust your team, if you are transparent with them and if the technical capability is there, there is no reason that your business can’t prosper in a remote environment.