Walking down the corridor and scanning the rows of desks is a simple and effective way to monitor the whereabouts of colleagues at the workplace. This practice is especially helpful in identifying individuals who may be succumbing to work overload. Any employee who remains at their desk after lights-out is clearly committed to working hard. Furthermore, those who need multiple cups of coffee to get through meetings can also be easily spotted. These issues aren’t unique to individuals working on-site; remote workers can also be susceptible to overworking.
It is no secret that more than half of the US employees have faced the burden of work overload and stress during their career. To make matters worse, workers are now expected to remain accessible through email, messaging apps and social media for a duration of at least 47 hours per week. This extra expectation has magnified the feeling of strain and fatigue experienced by numerous workers.
If you are seeking to track the productivity of your staff, in-person supervision is a reliable approach. However, it can be challenging to recognise signs of burnout in remote employees in this context. It is frequently easy to overlook potential indications of work exhaustion when communicating with someone remotely.
Recognising and taking proactive measures to prevent remote workers from becoming overworked is a critical starting point for any employer. Showing appreciation for remote staff is essential because they require the same recognition as office employees. This will enhance their job dedication, motivation, and commitment, helping you retain top talent for your enterprise. To maintain a sustainable workload for your remote team, regular and transparent communication is necessary.
At Works, we understand the significance of recruiting the most appropriate remote employees for your enterprise. We are ready to exhibit our competencies to you if you require our assistance. Unmotivated employees can severely hinder productivity, and this is true whether they work remotely or on-site.
Supervising employees remotely? Consider these suggestions.
Unusual Working Hours
It is crucial to maintain an accurate record of the hours that remote workers work each day, without being overly concerned about the time of day they are working. Nowadays, most enterprises employ a digital system to log and monitor employee hours. At Works, we prefer to use Slack for shift changes. Staff are required to ‘clock in’ upon arrival and ‘clock out’ before their breaks or lunch. A chat application is among the most effective ways to keep track of time, permitting rapid messaging and updates to be exchanged.
As per Zapier, employees are more likely to work longer hours, experience a faster work pace, encounter difficulties in managing their work-home balance, and sometimes, suffer from heightened levels of stress.
Excessive Time Consumption
As previously discussed in our article that debunked false beliefs about remote working, home-based employees are not prone to underperforming. While they do not have constant supervision, most remote workers may be liable to overworking as they lack the customary sense of closure when their workday concludes. There are no formal clock-in or clock-out procedures, nor is there a need to bid goodbye to colleagues while leaving the office. Although remote work provides the advantage of flexible working hours, it is advisable to discuss workload and schedules with remote employees who are dedicating more hours than necessary.
Inadequate Working Hours
When remote workers are overworked, they commonly fail to report their hours accurately, resulting in a backlog of tasks that they cannot manage. This can generate feelings of stress and anxiety, and it is crucial for employers to take proactive measures to tackle such situations. When a remote employee appears overwhelmed, having an open dialogue to discuss their workload and assessing necessary modifications is crucial.
Deficiency in Teamwork Mindset
A remote employee who works excessive hours and is under pressure may exhibit different behavior, which could serve as a warning sign. Observe their communication with senior executives and the rest of your team. The following characteristics are necessary for a successful remote worker:
- Regularly share project updates and other relevant information with team members.
- Engage in brainstorming, assigned tasks, and problem-solving activities.
- Show a collaborative attitude.
Have you noticed any changes in the mood of your remote staff? Do they tend to blame others instead of providing explanations when a project is delayed? These could be indications that your remote worker is struggling and feeling stressed. It is essential to encourage them to express their emotions openly. Although detecting such signals in remote workers may be difficult, it’s not impossible.
As Awebb famously stated, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” Although working from home provides autonomy and independence to many, it is essential to understand that colleagues are available to provide support when overwhelmed. Without such support, remote workers may feel the need to handle all tasks solely, leading to burnout. Studies conducted by Harvard Business Review have revealed that organizations experience positive outcomes when employees are encouraged to maintain reasonable workloads.
Emphasizing the importance of breaking down tasks into manageable parts cannot be overstated. If you think that any of your remote workers are taking on too much, it is crucial to discuss this with them. For further guidance on establishing teamwork among your remote employees, please refer to our article ‘Smells Like Team Spirit’.
Reduction in Work Quality
At Works, we take great pride in linking businesses with highly skilled remote workers who are dedicated to exceeding expectations. However, when their performance starts to decrease, it’s usually a red flag that they are having difficulty managing remote work demands. A decrease in work quality due to high stress levels is one of the last signs to watch out for when identifying overloaded remote workers.
While some believe that there are no negative consequences to having an employee work overtime, the opposite is often true. When remote workers are overloaded, their work quality may suffer, regardless of how many extra hours they invest.
According to Harvard Business Review: The more you work, the less productive you become. Overworking leads to poor decision-making and less meaningful results.
As a supervisor of remote employees, it takes time for both parties to acclimate to the new working arrangement. It’s your responsibility to assess each remote employee’s workload capacity while encouraging them to evaluate their own abilities. Establishing boundaries and mutual agreement usually leads to a more conducive working environment. However, overburdening an employee can be detrimental to their productivity.
As much as possible, avoid overloading remote workers with excessive tasks. If a specific project requires extra time and effort, consider pausing other tasks temporarily to allow them to focus solely on the important project. Alternatively, you may assign the workload among other employees to avoid burdening one person. Communicating with remote staff is crucial to preventing burnout.
As an employer of remote staff, ensuring that employees are not overworked can be challenging. However, it’s important to treat remote workers similarly to any other employee and provide them with the same considerations. To guarantee their productivity and mental well-being, it’s crucial to monitor their logged-in hours, ensure their active participation in business activities and discussions, and assess their output. Additionally, creating a supportive environment in which your remote employees feel comfortable discussing any issues or concerns about their workload is critical. Ultimately, two-way communication between employer and employee is key to maintaining the well-being and productivity of remote workers.
Contact us now, and we’ll assist you in starting remote work so that your company can enjoy the numerous benefits already experienced by hundreds of others.