How to Prevent Remote Employees from Underachieving (Part of the New Talent Challenges Series)

With prophesies about future employment circulating, remote working has emerged as a prominent model. Discussed at length on this blog, the benefits of working from home are undeniable. Convincing CEOs to adopt remote working practices is often challenging, but once they witness the positive results, their reception towards it improves.

Research indicates that adopting a remote working arrangement can provide numerous benefits. Several studies and analyses have demonstrated that this option can lead to enhanced balancing of work and personal life, cost savings, an improved level of adaptability, and boosted productivity. Moreover, organizations can gain from lowered costs, access to a more extensive range of talent, increased competitiveness, and greater output.

Nonetheless, guaranteeing that appropriate steps are taken for a thriving remote working setup is crucial. If ignored, it could adversely affect the organization. Therefore, it is imperative to take all the necessary measures to reap the benefits of remote working to the fullest extent.

Determining the ideal strategy is significant when initiating the planning phase for remote working. Equipping remote employees with the essential tools is indispensable to ensure their productivity. Below are three recommendations that may aid in this process:

Create a Robust Communication Framework

Underscoring the significance of efficient communication in a remote work scenario is vital. This should not be omitted, as it is critical to any organization’s success. In the absence of appropriate technologies and procedures, geographically distributed teams can have difficulty staying connected. Therefore, it is crucial to keep everyone thoroughly informed and up-to-date.

In the absence of a sound communication plan, remote employees might find it demanding to understand their role within the organization, leading them to lose interest in their job. This, in turn, can cause a deficiency in grasping the significance of their responsibilities, resulting in them feeling underappreciated, and thereby diminishing their productivity.

It is a challenge not only to guarantee that remote employees are rendering the required level of input; their managers frequently lack the essential tools to monitor and evaluate their performance effectively. This can generate a false impression that remote employees are not working productively.

The solution is simple in theory but not in execution: Devise a well-rounded promotion strategy. It is crucial to identify the preferred modes of communication (e.g. instant messaging, video conferencing, or other communication technologies) along with the relevant procedures. It should cover meetings, reports, and efficient communication, all of which require adherence to your expectations.

Promote Motivation and Assistance

Research has highlighted that the productivity of remote workers can be compromised as a result of their absence of in-person interactions with other personnel and their teams. While advanced communication technologies and protocols can assist in seamlessly managing operations, it may be inadequate to mitigate the potential disruptions caused by physical disconnection.

It is essential to evaluate the progress of individual team members and evaluate their alignment with remote working. This can be accomplished through interacting with them and gauging their perspective. However, it is imperative to guarantee that team members are involved and satisfied by offering them appropriate aid and motivation.

Meeting these objectives is achievable, and two alternatives exist. Firstly, supplying them with unambiguous instructions and the essential equipment and software, and even access to a collaborative office area when necessary, will empower them to fulfill their responsibilities more effectively. This eradicates distractions from their domestic environment and enables them to work with greater efficiency.

The second method involves integrating leisure time into the work routine. This may consist of arranging occasional in-person meetups, holding video conferences for socializing, and connecting staff with skilled professionals for guidance when dealing with motivational or mental health concerns.

Attain Skills in Managing Crisis

As a leader of a remote team, ascertaining the welfare of each team member can be challenging. Although the COVID-19 outbreak has caused considerable distress globally, other personal and local emergencies may be silently affecting the team. These emergencies could include caring for an ill family member, going through a divorce, facing financial instability in a team member’s home country, or experiencing disruptions to essential services. It is critical to be cognizant of these possible concerns and assure that appropriate support is extended when required.

Although the two aspects mentioned should aid in recognizing potential issues and offering motivation to those feeling demotivated, certain emergencies may warrant a more comprehensive, methodical approach. This approach should encompass all possible conclusions.

Providing the essential support is critical, which may entail enlisting external experts to manage challenging situations. Having a detailed crisis management strategy in place will facilitate handling unforeseeable circumstances. Individuals tackling a crisis should not be obligated to allocate their entire focus on their work if they are not prepared to do so. Rather, it is vital to have a backup plan in place to guarantee their welfare and sustenance of business continuity even in their absence.

In the end, crisis management entails more than simply listening and revising policies. It also encompasses offering any necessary assistance to the individual in distress, which may include financial support (e.g. unforeseen medical costs or replacement of equipment).

Approaches to Tackle Inadequate Performance

Sustaining the efficiency of remote personnel requires pinpointing the fundamental cause of any subpar performance. This may stem from personal matters, insufficient drive, misapprehensions, or deficient reporting mechanisms. Identifying the origins of the matter allows implementing relevant remedies.

Taking preemptive measures to prevent a decline in performance among remote staff is vital, even before it becomes noticeable. Certain team members may already be grappling with difficulties, which may not be visible. It is therefore crucial to formulate an action plan to deal with inadequate productivity, keeping the well-being and welfare of the work staff as the top priority.

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