7 MOST COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE MANAGING REMOTE WORKFORCE
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
Remote work allows professionals to work outside offices. It has given newfound freedom to the professionals, who could strike the right balance between their personal and professional life. However, managing a widely distributed remote workforce comes with its share of hiccups and learnings.
Ever since COVID-19 clenched the world in its vicious effect, remote work has emerged as the only way to work. Today, even after the world is healing from COVID-19, working remotely has become a hot discussion across the globe for various benefits it offers to both the employees and companies. With remote working, companies have found a manner to work sustainably and receive benefits in the long term. It has given the companies a new way to deal with unexpected events like lockdowns due to COVID-19. On the other hand, the productivity levels of employees increased drastically.
However, there are some cons attached to managing remote work and remote workers. Today, we will discuss the seven mistakes you must avoid to carry out remote work effectively.
Limiting conversations or overdoing it: Establishing the ideal team communication norms will ensure that employees don’t feel neglected or micromanaged. Therefore, it is essential to use your e-meeting time wisely and the discussion should not be limited or overdone. Identifying a schedule that works well for all your team members to join and discuss work freely is your first step to communicate effectively. The next step can be to decide upon the frequency – weekly, fortnightly – depending upon the work. Make sure to include the meeting agenda beforehand so that all the team members are prepared. If the conversation loses track, you can come back to the agenda pointers without wasting any time. It would be best to utilize the e-meeting for the team members to express their ideas liberally.
Ad hoc requests for e-meets, work calls, etc., should be rare case scenarios. Also, Constant pinging and hovering virtually can make your employees feel lost or digress.
Unclear communication: Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and ambiguous expectations. Since most communication happens virtually, one needs to use appropriate words and avoid any confusion. At times, how a person writes a message and how the receiver interprets it can be very different, especially if the language is not native. So, make sure that employees clearly understand what is expected of them. It is also recommended to use more positive words and revive the culture of magic words such as ‘Thank you’, ‘Please’ and others. Touches of sarcasm and business jargon must take some rest now because we can’t expect everyone to be on the same page all the time in a virtual set up.
At times, it would be good to utilize video calls to understand how a person receives your message. Their facial expression can indicate their comfort levels, whether or not they say it.
Lack of compassion: It is vital to give attention and respect to your employees. Focusing on the tone of voice to understand their current emotions is an art all managers must learn. Not every day an employee can showcase the same energy levels. And when you encounter one such day, try to push deadlines if you can and encourage the employee to take some time off. You need to make sure that employees bounce back to work with fervor. Secondly, if your focus is off, avoid conversations with the team for a while as your concentration towards your team is fundamental.
For instance, if the firm’s primary focus is on the Log-in and Log-out time of employees, it will be unfair to expect employees to focus on completing work without keeping track of time. Job autonomy should be embraced to ensure employees’ productivity and comfort levels.
Disrespecting personal space: Work-from-home is not the same for everyone. A person living alone can focus more on work than a new parent or person with dependent family members. Employees with kids can find it challenging to manage the call while catering to the children. They might also feel guilty for not giving enough time to work due to home responsibilities. Situations like these can set a chain of negative emotions, ultimately impacting work performance. Simple things like giving heads up before connecting, asking employees for deadlines instead of giving them deadlines, etc. can prove useful.
Respect towards each other should be mutual and a priority. For team leads, allowing flexibility in work and communication is key here. Team members need to show respect towards their leaders by acknowledging their requests and understating the work’s nature.
Using the wrong technology to manage work: Since all the work is managed virtually now, you and your team need to access the right technology tools. Many business technology firms worldwide offer customized systems for teams to collaborate, communicate, and share work effectively and securely. It is important to constantly ask yourself “are we using the right tools? Can we do better here?” The right tools can help automate mundane tasks, resulting in an increased focus on the work’s strategic aspect.
Not altering the company culture: With the remote working setup, company cultures are changing organically as people are getting accustomed to communicating through technology only. This demands a new approach towards a company culture that is more flexible and sustainable. Firms and their HR divisions must encourage to build “team culture” rather than “company culture”. The team culture may or may not mirror all the broad company culture’s nuances, but it must undoubtedly keep intact the ultimate vision and reason for the firm’s existence and services. To ensure the right team cultures, the HR heads, CEOs, or other leadership team members must find novel ways to connect with various teams to emphasize the shared vision and appreciate what the team is doing right.
Unable to motivate employees: Motivation techniques work differently in the Work from home setting and office settings. It is crucial to motivate your employees to keep their productivity levels high. Some people require public and verbal affirmation during a team meeting while others may feel embarrassed with this. To keep your remote team confident and working you have to find out what drives them and motivate them. Organizing video conferencing to praise for a job well done or finding a solution can boost confidence of employees. Some employees may find it motivating to receive challenging tasks while others may not be so much boosted about it. Timely shout outs which would happened naturally in an office setting need to be replaced with timely virtual shout outs to appreciate and motivate good effort and performance.
So while avoiding the above mentioned mistakes can ease out managing remote workforce to some extent, implementing learnings from day to day workforce management while being kind to self and the team is critical in coping with the new way of working and making remote work truly work.