It would be an understatement to say that remote working is having its time in the limelight. While many are still trying to adjust to this new routine, few can truly doubt the effectiveness of working remotely. It serves to keep employees engaged and productive.
For employers, it means better performances, lower turnover, and the ability to attract top talent. You also don’t have to worry about rent or utility costs, and it’s beneficial for the environment. However, in order to reap the benefits of remote working, leaders need to avoid a number of pitfalls that could prove detrimental to the team and the company.
Being too rigid
Flexibility and remote working goes hand-in-hand. Remote working gives employees the freedom to work when they are most productive. It also allows them to work around their other obligations and have a more balanced lifestyle. Being overbearing, like enforcing a 9-to-5 work schedule on remote teams will do little for the mental health and morale of remote workers.
Failure to communicate
Communication is key for a remote working team. Without the ability to meet face-to-face, it is important to schedule regular online check-ins with the team instead of leaving them to their own devices. There are plenty of tools available now to help companies achieve this. Email, Slack or virtual meeting tools like Zoom are all easily accessible and effective.
Remote teams still need to socialise. In fact, because of recent events, more and more studies are examining the consequences of isolation. And, suffice today, it’s just not good for anyone’s health and wellbeing. Besides, encouraging your team to socialise with each other builds rapport and improves collaboration. Arranging online social happy hours to celebrate milestones is one such activity that can do wonders for morale.
Lack of feedback or learning opportunities
While flexibility is something that employees tend to enjoy when working remotely, this does not mean that they do not want feedback. In fact, remote workers tend to want more feedback than ever, as most would have concerns on whether they are doing enough or doing things right while they are away from the office. Beyond that, remote workers demand learning opportunities. It’s one of the most effective ways to retain them and keep them engaged. Unfortunately, they often get overlooked here. But, leaders can avoid that mistake by offering plenty of career growth opportunities.
Failing to address team struggles
Even without the COVID-19 pandemic causing problems, there are still plenty of issues that have to be addressed when dealing with remote teams. The most significant struggles are unplugging, loneliness, communicating and distractions at home.
Especially since the lines between work and rest are blurred when working from home, leaders need to be aware that workers are not always on-call 24/7. They need time away in order to rest and recharge. That means not sending them work-related messages during off-hours.
You could also give them pointers on how to prevent getting interrupted while working from home. Suggest that they set up a home office so that they have a quiet space to work.
Not using the right tools
As previously stated, teams need communication, file-sharing, and project-management tools at the minimum. Depending on their role, they may need access to even more specific tools. Regardless, you need to make sure that they have access to these so that they can get their work done and collaborate with each other.