Remote working is here to stay. Research projects that 25 percent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 and that remote opportunities will continue to grow through 2023.
As the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic sets in and remote work continues gaining popularity, cases of job burnout have jumped to a new high. According to the American Psychological Association, 79 percent of the 1,501 employees examined in a survey experienced work-related stress that caused them to lack interest, motivation and energy to work. When you can no longer walk to your employee’s desks to check on them since they’re working remotely, you need strategies to help your team stay productive.
How to Include Remote Team Members in the Day-to-Day
There are several research-based guidelines that you can take to keep your team engaged when managing remote teams. First, make sure that you understand the challenges of remote working, from isolation to distractions to lack of in-person supervision.
Host Virtual Meetings and Casual Hangouts
Your team needs structure and guidance to help them manage workload virtually. Your team will struggle to focus on work without structure, while others may be overworked. A short virtual meeting a day can strengthen the team’s direction and purpose and keep every member up to date.
A voice or video call can also help remote employees integrate easily into the group and encourage collaboration. A virtual PBX system can help you turn an ordinary meeting into an engaging, efficient, and collaborative experience.
Virtual PBX uses cloud-based technology and is powered by voice-over-internet protocol to allow you to communicate internally and externally. The tool provides call forwarding, conferencing, voicemail, customer greetings, among other standard practices for business phone systems.
Encourage Feedback and Autonomy
Feedback plays a critical role in creating productive teams in remote work environments. Feedback can foster healthy communication between you and employees and encourage professional growth and development among your team members. Encourage your team to share negative and positive feedback to help you break bad habits, reinforce positive behavior, and encourage your team to work towards their goals effectively.
Workplace autonomy increases job satisfaction, creativity, motivation, and employees’ overall well-being. Allowing your employees to make their choices about their responsibilities freely makes them happier, more committed, loyal, and more productive.
If you have invested in collaboration and communication tools, it is essential to adopt best practices to help your team navigate remote work. Create a happy work environment by reaching out to your team to gain feedback on operations. Schedule time to request feedback and offer relevant data for employees to understand you better.
Appreciate Their Work
Whenever your employees know that their hard work is appreciated and recognized, they feel valued. Appreciation improves productivity, employee engagement, and dedication. Appreciations also build loyalty.
Appreciation should be part of your company culture. Today’s employees expect instant gratification, so delayed appreciation may mean denied appreciation. Frequent appreciation creates stronger bonds and facilitates communication.
Prioritize Health and Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance has always been a priority to employees, even before the pandemic. Employees believe that remote work offers some flexibility, which fosters better work-life balance. However, even with the flexibility of remote working, a good percentage of employees still struggle with work-life balance.
Remote working can negatively impact the well-being and professional satisfaction of your team. You need to establish clear boundaries and maintain a positive outlook to help your remote team stay healthy and productive. Ensure that your team takes their leave days and unplugs when the need arises. Going on leave can promote good physical and mental health in the workplace, improve your team’s work-life balance, and reduce stress. Leave should be differentiated from absenteeism, as unscheduled off days can affect team productivity.
Challenges of Remote Working
Remote workers have had to deal with new levels of anxiety and isolation in the recent past. Juggling work and family responsibilities have made it difficult for some to manage their time. When managing remote teams, ensure that each team member feels valued, stays engaged, and is productive.