How remote work is viewed in the professional world is evolving. People assumed working from home meant sitting in your pajamas all day, absent-mindedly working with lots of breaks. Now, the idea of being at a desk 9-5 every day seems more outdated.
Due to the current situation, companies now know work can be managed remotely. They've started to recognize the benefits - from reduced business costs, productivity boosts, access to broader talent pools to being able to run a more sustainable business.
So how can this now become easier? Working remotely has its massive drawbacks as well. How are you supposed to manage someone you've never met - let alone encourage collaboration?How do you encourage employees without micromanaging? How to gauge their emotional state without consistent facial cues?
Remote working may sound relaxed, but it sure isn’t all fun and games! There are various challenges to working remotely; managing someone you have never met, building relationships, gauging their progress levels, or paving the way for collaborations. Firstly, employers and managers must understand the factors that can make remote work highly demanding for their employees. Setting too high expectations may even bring high-performing employees to experience lesser job satisfaction, along with a decline in work performance, especially without preparation and training.
Lower employee engagement and team collaboration can be expected due to reduced or no visibility of the workforce.
Keeping track of daily attendance and progress of tasks to maintain productivity levels is a challenge.
Maintaining on-time completion of deliverables is a must irrespective of working remotely or not.
Powerful technology needs to be in place to ensure smooth communication and tracking of performance.
Managers must find a way to guide employees who feel lost while working remotely.
Employees may lose the personal connection with their team due to a prolonged lack of in-person meetings.
While working remotely, companies need to plan and think out of the box to make up for all the challenges and internal communication that could get lost in translation. After all, 55% of body language is used for effective communication, with words taking 7% and tone of voice, 38%.
Evaluate Employees based on their Quality and Quantity of work instead of Time worked
Working remotely can blur the lines of otherwise fixed work timings employees had in the office. Managers can hold weekly meetings with remote employees to clearly define their tasks and arrive at deadlines. Having two or more employees working on similar projects can help managers evaluate quality and quantity better. Using standard KPIs or cloud-based items can help track these metrics.
Evaluate Employees based on their Outcomes
A manager must set benchmarks and realistic goals to get the desired outcomes. If employees know the result you’re expecting, all their effort will be directed towards accomplishing that goal.
Evaluate Employees based on Clear Metrics and Expectations
Setting realistic expectations can benefit employees. Create metrics based on expectations, and accordingly, evaluate employee performance.
Develop Trust in your Remote Employees
Trusting your employees during remote work can ensure good teamwork and favorable outcomes. Letting employees take charge and implement new strategies is a way of letting them know you trust them. Allowing them to collaborate on projects remotely can make them feel more accountable for their work. Also, employees can track their own progress.
Evaluate Employees based on Internal Feedback
Using internal feedback processes to evaluate your employees can be more beneficial to them and the organization. Short surveys involving all roles (manager, team lead, colleague, self-evaluation) can reveal many of their strengths and areas of improvement. Managers can now make accurate evaluations based on these results.
Conduct Regular Performance Reviews
Well-defined and structured performance reviews are one of the best ways to evaluate employees working remotely. Regularly conducted reviews can make the employees feel relaxed and at ease. This also helps in keeping track of the employee's progress and introducing changes earlier rather than later. The relationship between employee and manager can improve with increased communication.
Effective performance management involves supportive and constructive conversations that include feedback. All this contributes to helping employees reach their optimum level of productivity while experiencing job satisfaction.