Organize Your Workflow Like a Pro: Tips for Employees Who Work From Home


Organize Your Workflow Like a Pro: Tips for Employees Who Work From Home

The epidemic spiral has the planet ensnared, and there is no way out. There is a growing consensus among business leaders that occasional lockdowns, remote cooperation, and digital corporate cultures will become more prevalent in the near future. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, one thing is for certain: companies must change their business models to accommodate the new norm of “remote” labor.

Each employee faces a distinct set of problems when working from home. Employees and, regrettably, supervisors must put up with everything from screaming infants to rowdy neighbors. While some of us have been using our closets and bathrooms as temporary workplaces, working from home offers major advantages to employees: no commuting, fewer interruptions, and a more flexible schedule. Not to forget a surge of innovative technology that makes work simple. Employees can now send calls to other numbers automatically or work in virtual organization workspaces that allow teammates to collaborate without confusion.

Nevertheless, managing teams that aren’t on the same page presents a unique set of difficulties for supervisors. It’s been said that the ability to work from home is a good barometer for measuring an employee’s overall productivity. Because of the convenience of remote work, many managers believe productivity has been squandered in the process. All managers have concerns about trust, productivity, motivation, and communication.

Defining Remote Team in Simple Terms

A “virtual,” or remote team, is a group of people who collaborate on projects even when they are not all physically present at the same location. Remote teams can spread across a variety of locations, which means multiple time zones.

Obstacles Managers Face with the New Culture

There are a number of variables that might make remote employment particularly challenging for managers. If they haven’t been properly prepared and trained, otherwise high-performing individuals may see a reduction in their job performance and engagement when working remotely. Remote work presents a number of challenges, including:

  • Managers and employees alike complain about the lack of face-to-face engagement. Supervisors fear that their employees won’t put forth as much effort, even if data shows the contrary, at least for certain positions. Many employees complain about reduced managerial assistance and communication. Employees may feel that remote bosses are not supportive or helpful since they are unaware of their needs.
  • Due to the extra time and effort required, new remote workers may struggle to find the expertise they need from their coworkers. Simple answers may be tough to obtain for a person working from home.
  • There are also interpersonal difficulties that can arise between remote personnel as a result of this. People who work remotely are less likely to give their coworkers the benefit of the doubt because they lack “shared knowledge,” according to a study. If you know your coworker is having a bad day, you’ll take their sarcastic email as a sign that things aren’t going well for them. A distant coworker’s lack of context makes you more likely to take offense or at the very least, doubt your coworker’s professionalism if they send you an informal email.
  • A common criticism about remote work is that employees lack the informal social interaction of an office environment, which can lead to loneliness. Extroverts are thought to be more prone to feeling alone in the short term, especially if they do not have the opportunity to socialize with their coworkers when working remotely. Isolation, on the other hand, can reduce the sense of “belonging” to their firm over time and perhaps increase their desire to leave.
  • Notice how the new image of a work-from-home employee includes parents cradling their children while struggling to type an email? And this scene is usually set on the couch or on the kitchen table. This is an incredibly toxic depiction of how virtual work is supposed to be done.

Before allowing their remote staff to work from home, it is typically advised that businesses make sure they have a separate workspace and suitable childcare. However, if a quick shift to virtual work occurs, employees may have to deal with less-than-ideal workspaces and, in the event of school or daycare closures, additional parental duties. Distractions from home and family can interfere with remote work ,even in normal conditions. Managers should expect these distractions to be more severe during this unforeseen shift to working from home.

How to Become a Better Manager

Now that we know the issues employees face, let’s look at what could make managers better at coordinating their remote workers.

  1. Clear and Concise Communication

If you’re employing a slew of tech-based solutions, you may think communication is an issue that can be easily remedied. However, there’s no shortage of evidence suggesting that the majority of human communication is nonverbal, as you’ve probably observed. Because of this, you must develop techniques to compensate for the loss of nonverbal communication.

  • Virtual face-to-face meetings are ideal for preserving nonverbal communication. If you have a large team, you may want to consider segmenting it for regular conference calls.
    • Keep in mind that people get tired of being on video, so plan for camera rest periods. The majority of respondents (82.9%) agree that not all video meetings necessitate the presence of a camera.
  • Challenges arise when using video conferencing. Establish guidelines for who can speak when.
    • Mail your team talking sticks as a visual reminder of who’s going to speak next.
  • Email and text-based communications should be reserved for material that lacks a nonverbal component.
    • Use email to keep track of important issues and use chat to make quick decisions.
  • Inform your audience of the most effective ways to use video conferencing.

To make the most of your virtual meetings, use the same protocol you would for an in-person meeting. Establish a schedule and a dress code for the day’s activities. There is nothing wrong with casual conversations before or after the meeting begins as long as basic ground rules are established.

  1. Delegation of Duties
  • To be an effective manager, you must be able to distribute work and tasks to your subordinates. Even if you are managing distant personnel, that still holds true.
  • To make a difficult process easier, break it down into smaller tasks or jobs.
  • Make it clear what makes a completed project.
  • Determine who is on the team. Which employees are best suited for which jobs?
  • Make sure everyone knows where they are and what they need to do by using a task management or project management system.
  • As a team, discuss all aspects of your work. Point team members in the direction of the materials or data that they might require. Also, talk to them about what you’re hoping to achieve and make sure they’re on board.
  • Regular conference calls to discuss progress or concerns should be scheduled. Individuals should be able to reach you if they have any questions or concerns.
  • Put in place a system that makes it easy to generate reports and analyze data.
  • Have an incentive system in place. Why not reward your employees for meeting deadlines? Make it competitive, but also have fun with it.
  1. Look for Signs of Burnout

You should use caution as a manager and refrain from giving your employees too much work or setting unreasonable deadlines. Engage your remote staff in dialogue and be willing to listen to their ideas. For those who feel under too much strain, be prepared to adapt your work to make things a little easier for them.

  1. Measure Productivity

Working from home allows employees to choose their own schedules, not to slack off, but to better match their needs throughout the day. Having a set of standards to focus on and assess productivity might be helpful for two reasons: to keep things on track and to ensure that you’re not working according to everyone else’s schedule.

Setting deadlines could take place daily, weekly, or monthly. When it comes to your team’s schedule, it doesn’t really matter (unless, for example, they are offering customer support). It doesn’t matter what time zone they’re in, either.

Determine key performance indicators (KPIs). Set deadlines for individual tasks or for the entire project. Larger projects can particularly benefit from this because it not only makes things easier; it can help you collect data for future planning as well.

  1. Set Physical Meetings for Employees Nearby

Breaking bread together strengthens teams, as we are all aware. However, setting up a video conference in a restaurant might be a little difficult. It’s critical to get together with your teammates on a regular basis.

As a starting point, consider doing on-site group training sessions for new hires. During the first week, we link up new hires with a “buddy” to help them get to know one another and settle in (you can do this remotely, too—just have them plan catch-up video calls every few days).

A virtual team meeting isn’t exactly the same as an in-person one, but it can help build stronger relationships when everyone is together at the same time. It’s not uncommon for people who collaborate via video conferencing to be taken aback when they meet in person for the first time. If you can, try to bring your remote staff together in person or by video as often as feasible. It’s a quick and easy approach to strengthen bonds between people who don’t spend much time together.

  1. Take a Break for Yourself

Amidst all of the things one has to do for other people, they tend to forget to take care of themselves. Managers are no different. Having a schedule for yourself and your family is a great place to begin. Many managers end up burning the midnight oil and overworking as they can’t delegate or give proper instructions to their employees. Instead, they end up doubling their workload as they are forced to pick up slack from everyone working under them.

Avoid this by following the above tips and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

What Managers Mustn’t Do

There are unspoken rules about workflow management that every employer needs to be aware of.

  1. Monitoring the Work Devices Without Employee Consent

Deceptive methods of monitoring harm the connection between employees and managers. When it comes to employee trust and morale, any breach will leave the managers without an employee or, at best, an ill-performing one. Tracking productivity with exact results and targets is a more trustworthy alternative. There are a few things to keep an eye on:

  • Instill trust in your team by providing an end-of-day report.
  • Organize your time by using a collaborative calendar or project management software.
  • Set daily goals and monitor them.
  • Set specific deadlines for each assignment.

Employees should be allowed as much freedom as possible. Employers should be very open about what they’re monitoring and why if they choose to do so.

  1. Don’t Expect Employees To Be Available 24/7

Even if teams work from home, promote and encourage work-life balance. This includes establishing realistic expectations for how and when you will communicate with one another. Don’t expect staff to react to SMS and emails at 10 p.m., for example. Employees who are continuously plugged in should not be punished, but they should also not be publicly praised.

By praising individuals who are constantly connected, we set an unhealthy standard for the rest of the workforce. For individuals caring for loved ones who are unwell or have families, it is impossible to meet the same criteria. As long as they’re doing a good job, they shouldn’t feel awful about establishing healthy work/life boundaries.

  1. Don’t Put Recognition And Gratitude at the Bottom of Your To-Do List

It is important to keep praising your workers when they do well. Make a point of continuing to commemorate significant work anniversaries and achievements. In a remote work environment, recognition is more important than ever. Trust is built on appreciation. And it’s more important than ever to have solid interpersonal relationships based on mutual respect and trust.

While working remotely, there are numerous ways to maintain a sense of community and identity. Start a special channel on your favorite chat app to honor your loved ones. A weekly or monthly appreciation email to your team is a great way to recognize your best workers, as well as those who are commemorating work anniversaries or other milestones.

  1. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Culture And Camaraderie

As we spend most of our waking hours working, it is important for us to feel supported and appreciated by our colleagues. Work-from-home firms face the greatest difficulty of all when it comes to promoting a connected and friendly work environment. Building virtual social spaces can be made easier with the following tips:

  • Employees can be kept up to date on their coworkers’ accomplishments using peer-to-peer recognition systems and social-driven apps.
  • Use apps like Zoom and Houseparty to host virtual social gatherings. Team building may be made more enjoyable and less formal with these online get-togethers.
  • Gather your coworkers outside a couple of times a year if the weather permits and your team is small enough.
  1. Set Guidelines For Check-Ins

When it comes to checking in with your staff, don’t assume they already know. Another factor to consider is how quickly they should respond to your messages. There’s no need to enshrine these principles in stone. At the very least, you should give your employees a sense of the frequency of formal check-ins so that they can plan ahead of time.

  1. Don’t Assume Everyone Has a Peaceful Work Environment

Employers who presume that their employees have a quiet, stress-free workplace are putting their employees under unnecessary stress. In order to keep employees motivated, it is essential to show empathy and understanding. Your staff will do work that exceeds your expectations in return for your gratitude.

  1. Remain Transparent With Your Employees

Workplace politics are easy to start and will spread like wildfire. If you lie to an employee or behave passive-aggressively and inappropriately with them, your entire workforce will soon know. You may think you’ve gotten away with a white lie, but employee relations are strong, more so than employee-employer relationships.

The path of trust goes both ways; when as a manager, you expect your employees to gain your trust, the employees expect the same transparency from you.

A corporation may find it difficult to make the switch to remote work. However, if you adhere to a set of standards and guidelines, remote cooperation can be a boon to productivity and management. You can make your home office less lonely regardless of whether you’re managing a remote team of ten or an entire corporation shifting to remote or hybrid work.

For some, the transition to managing remote teams may be a challenge. Even so, there’s no reason to be too concerned. Because there are so many wonderful tools and apps available to make remote work easier, communication and administration are as easy as if your team were in the office. With regular phone conversations and face-to-face meetings, it is possible to keep many of the greatest aspects of in-office work as a remote employee. Good luck managing!