The pandemic has introduced monumental changes to our life, both personal and professional. While the impact has mostly been negative, it pushed us to adopt a global remote work model, which may otherwise never have happened.
Now, companies all over the world have realized the benefits of remote work and are making a shift to either a hybrid work structure or a 100% remote work model.
Remote work has significantly reduced operational costs and has given businesses the freedom to hire solely based on talent instead of geographical location.
However, managing a remote workforce is very different from managing an in-office team. Here are nine strategies that you can implement to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity from your remote team.
Ways to manage your remote workers and help them perform their tasks more efficiently
Make your expectations clear
Be vocal about what you expect, and don’t skip over instructions assuming they already know about it. This leaves room for ambiguity which will affect your team’s performance.
Provide clear guidelines, set solid boundaries, and regularly review the basics to prevent any misunderstandings that may otherwise occur.
You should also let them know what success looks like for you; this will guide them towards working in the right direction.
One of the best ways to do this is during your weekly or monthly calls when the entire team is present. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you do it.
One aspect you can’t take for granted with a remote workforce is communication. Remote employees can’t stop by your desk to get clarification about a point; therefore, it’s your responsibility to implement strategies for effective communication.
Open communication ensures your team is aware of upcoming deadlines, resources they can use, challenges they may face, and of course, what you expect from them.
Use project management tools like Allo.io to help your team stay on the same page and maintain an efficient workflow.
When to use chat and when to video call
Alongside encouraging open communication, it’s vital to set clear communication guidelines. This doesn’t have to be super complicated; you simply have to define what sort of communication is acceptable for each scenario.
Emails, Slack, phone calls, video calls, there are so many communication modes available. However, you can’t share official messages via WhatsApp or Slack; it must be noted via email.
Another guideline could be asking members to call only during emergencies and dropping work messages during work hours.
Setting clear deadlines is the most efficient way to perform tasks quickly
While working remotely can be super productive, it can just as easily lure people into procrastination. More often than not, people are working from their bedroom, kitchen, or living room.
Clear deadlines help keep people accountable and propel them to finish their tasks on time. People know what they’re expected to deliver and when; this helps them take control of their work.
Additionally, for complex projects, assigning tasks with solid deadlines ensures that the project stays on track.
On the other hand, it’s also important to set a clear deadline for office hours. Encourage your team to maintain a healthy work-life balance and strictly log off at the end of their schedule.
Schedule Periodic Meetings
Nobody likes staying on zoom for hours; however, you should schedule a quick 15-minute daily check-in with your team via video conferencing or phone call.
Set daily and weekly meeting rhythms that work best for your distributed teams.
The primary purpose of a daily check-in is to set the agenda for the day, share updates, provide feedback, and give access to resources your team may need.
Daily sync will help them be aware of their tasks for the day. More importantly, it gives people the opportunity to clear any blockers that might hinder their tasks, ask questions, and raise any issues they may have.
If daily stand-ups don’t work for you, you can use platforms like Standuply to get daily updates and ensure everyone on the team is aware of what others are working on.
Ensure all the information is available in an easy format
If you’re tired of hour-long zoom calls, focus on detailed documentation. From your monthly, quarterly, and yearly OKRs to essential business metrics, be sure to document everything.
This will ensure people don’t have to duplicate effort and can prioritize tasks that are actually important.
Also, make sure that everyone can access this information easily.
Use pre-made templates
Pre-made templates give your team the freedom to work on their daily documents more efficiently without the hassle of duplicating unnecessary work.
Allo allows distributed teams to maintain a standard to ensure everyone can work together seamlessly. Additionally, you can move past the overwhelming feeling of starting from scratch by creating custom templates based on the most commonly used structures.
Resist the urge to micromanage
To efficiently manage remote teams, you have to trust your employees to do their job without micromanagement.
If you keep breathing down their neck, it will only disengage and frustrate your employees, thereby affecting their performance.
Try to inculcate an ownership-type culture where you trust your team to finish their tasks on time. Hold them accountable for the outcome rather than their activity.
Another reason why focusing on activity isn’t an efficient way to manage a remote team is that remote workers have varied commitments while working from home.
Some employees may start working early in the morning, while others may prefer to work late into the night. Add different timezone in the mix, and the whole system becomes chaotic.
Therefore, instead of focusing on their activity, prioritize their productivity and performance. As long as they keep up with their responsibilities and meet their deadlines, you don’t need to micromanage them.
Provide the right resources and tools
Make sure that everyone in your team has the technology they need to get their tasks done, and this may be more than just a laptop and phone. Assuming that all your employees have access to the resources they need isn’t reasonable.
You need to proactively make sure that they are well-equipped to manage their roles and responsibilities efficiently.
Additionally, you can take advantage of software programs to automate your tasks. You don’t need a lot of tools to be efficient. You don’t need your team to suffer from a tech overload, do you?
You can easily maintain your remote team’s workflow with a handful of tools and do it well.
How can you work more efficiently as a remote worker?
Start your day with a detailed to-do list
Without the structure that a traditional workplace offers, it may be challenging to keep on top of your tasks. While working remotely gives us the flexibility of working whenever we want, it is a double-edged sword. Along with this freedom comes added responsibility.
Therefore, before you even begin your work, plan your workflow for the day. Be thorough and jolt down the time you’ll take to finish each task and prioritize tasks you need to get done first.
You can even plan your workday before going to bed each night. This practice will ensure that every morning you know exactly what you need to do.
Additionally, ensure your schedule is flexible enough to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.
Things don’t always go according to your plan; it’s all about finding the right balance.
Identify your most productive hours
While many preach the magic of waking up early, mornings are not the most productive part of the day for everyone.
You may be a morning lark who prefers to work at the crack of dawn, or you may be a night owl who performs best late at night. Who knows? Maybe you can get all your work done if you work at noon?
There are times when you feel “in the zone” and get more work done in less time.
If you struggle to wake up early, maybe your internal clock is more efficient in the early afternoon. You need to listen to your body and schedule less complex tasks in the morning.
Critical tasks that require your utmost concentration can be scheduled when you’re most productive.
Schedule time for breaks
Working continuously for hours on end doesn’t directly imply that you’re productive. In fact, you could have wrapped up the task that took you 6 hours within two and a half hours had you taken short breaks to refresh your mind.
So, how exactly do you schedule your breaks, and how long should they be? That’s definitely a tricky question to answer.
According to The Muse, you should take a 17-minute break after working with high-intensity for 57 minutes.
However, these numbers aren’t written in stone. You know what works best for you; therefore, you need to experiment and see what schedule works best for you.
Develop a routine
Creating a regular schedule and being disciplined enough to stick to it is crucial to working from home. Though it’s tempting to allow yourself the flexibility to get started, take breaks, or go to bed at any time, it does more harm than good.
A remote lifestyle can allow your work to bleed into your personal time. A regular schedule ensures you get your job done within a set time and help keep the professional part of your day separate from your personal life.
This doesn’t mean you need to work on the traditional 9 to 5 clock. You simply need to consider these three factors while creating your routine:
- The time your company or boss needs you to be at work
- Communication with your customers and coworkers
- Your peak productivity hours
Developing a routine will help you stay productive and be aware of precisely what you have to do at any point of the day.
Switch up your work environment
The simplest and the most effective way to boost your efficiency and productivity is to change your surroundings.
If you’ve been working sitting at the same desk all day long, move to your living room or your garden to work on your tasks.
Revamp your workspace by decluttering your workspace or moving things around in the room. It’s not really about the physical environment; it’s about the atmosphere of the place.
Identify your distractions
Do you have an unhealthy obsession with checking your emails every other hour? Or maybe you navigate to Netflix telling yourself you’ll only watch one episode and end up guilt-watching an entire season?
To work more efficiently from home, you need to know the things that distract you from what you’re supposed to do. The next step, of course, is working towards eliminating them.
If Netflix is your poison, then use tools like Freedom to block specific sites. If you have a habit of constantly checking your phone for notifications, you can either switch it off or turn off your notifications.
And that’s it!
Now you understand the most efficient ways to perform tasks quickly and ensure your team does the same. You can implement these remote work strategies to take your productivity to the next level.