Remote work, telecommuting, the home office and smart work have been talked about for years; these types of jobs have grown tremendously, in step with the technological revolution we have been experiencing, even allowing us to work from our comfortable sofas.
For many, working from home had previously only been an occasional experience, often dictated by specific personal or business needs, but it is now becoming a necessity and, soon, may be the preferred work model for some professions.
In many countries, due to the Coronavírus (COVID-19) pandemic, the remote work concept has received a strong boost and, in this situation of novelty and uncertainty, staying productive, focused and involved in business processes can be a real challenge. Here are some tips for managing your team and your own work efficiently.
1. Focus on Communication
Communication is at the heart of a management strategy, but in this period of uncertainty, it takes on an even more important role. In smart work, it is essential to stay constantly connected and informed. It would be advisable to meet at least once per week by videoconference or to share information over the phone, listening to colleagues and employees so that there are no information gaps among the participants in your business.
In addition to communicating updates and strategies related to goals and daily activities of the company, it is important to be positive with your team whenever possible, be it a birthday or to celebrate success; it is always good to share something positive! At the beginning of each new experience, it is essential to recognize prior success in order to keep morale high.
2. Respect the Rhythms of Work
One of the main challenges of smart work is related to changing the routine, especially if there is a lack of clear organizational structure. For many, working remotely for long periods can be destabilizing, and it is important that the team leader and the rest of the leadership team take this into account. Meetings must continue on schedule, and daily activities should not differ significantly from ordinary activities in the physical office.
For those who work full time, maintaining the same work structure and establishing clear limits for the tasks to be performed helps people understand when the workday is over. This element will allow them to feel less pressure, despite 24-7 demands. Remote work does not have to be overwhelming and shouldn’t cause employees to sacrifice good work/life balance; it is very important to maintain a clear and structured work schedule for all team members.
3. Offer Increased Flexibility
In addition to working from home, many people may also have to look after their children or another loved one due to closed schools and businesses, or maybe do occasional household chores. Therefore, flexibility becomes crucial.
Smart work allows employers to create schedules tailored to employee needs, thereby reducing external pressures. For some people, remote work is a benefit, so much so that one survey conducted in the U.S. found that it improves the productivity and concentration of some workers by as much as 78%.
Agreeing on and publishing flexible schedules for the entire team allows there to be a clear understanding of who is available at all times of the day and ensures that people are not obsessed with having to be constantly available.
The most important concept to remember in these difficult situations is that employees are people, each with his or her own needs, concerns and situations; we must all remember to show understanding, we are all human beings. Remote work may seem impersonal and isolating, but with personalized and clear approaches, we can continue to make the team feel supported, involved and able to continue their work in a safe and caring environment.