Laura Iñiguez, Content Manager at Hirebook
Laura is a content and social media strategist with deep experience in Employee Engagement, People Management, and Culture. She works with Hirebook to bring their innovative best practices to life through content, videos, and webinars seen by thousands around the globe.
Pub: October 19 2020
. Upd: October 21 2021
Yes, we’re living unprecedented times, and it’s up to us to decide if we fight against the ‘current’ events and try to keep our processes as they’ve always been, OR evolve alongside the situation. As the year has gone by, we’ve come to realize that remote work is the “new normal” for a lot of companies. What started as an urgent solution to avoid shutting down offices, became an unexpected normality, and with that new challenges arise.
A global survey by BCG pointed out that:
One of the main concerns managers have to deal with nowadays is: remote management of their employees and keeping the productivity and engagement at its best. The good news is: it’s easier than you think! It just takes a little extra effort.
We want to help you with managing your remote employees and strengthening your manager-employee relationship while teleworking, and get the best out of your team, even when you can’t physically meet with them.
It is important to recognize the difficulties that teleworkers are facing:
- Lack of face-to-face interaction - When in an office, people are used to easily clear doubts when running into someone down the hall; knock someone’s office if they need something or just turning their chairs… When these interactions disappear, people might even think twice before “bothering” someone with their matters, because it involves a whole different kind of interaction. Not being able to see someone’s face when asking or requesting something makes interactions feel impersonal.
- Social Isolation - Hand in hand with the lack of face-to-face interaction, cutting back "water cooler talk" takes a toll on people’s mood and emotional health. It also reduces camaraderie, which unintentionally reduces helping out colleagues as well. The sum of these factors may not always have the best outcome.
- Limited access to tools and resources - Not every worker has top notch technology to work at their best pace. If your company is unable to provide their employees with equipment, they will most likely get frustrated if they feel they’re working slower than usual; or if they can’t have easy access to the resources they need to perform their best.
How to overcome these difficulties?
Checking-in is key
Make sure you check in with your team. If people want to feel recognized while working remotely, it is important to let them know you are viewing their efforts and that you’re within reach if they need some help. When you regularly check-in with remote employees you can solve problems faster, track their progress and even avoid blockers.
Are you asking the right questions? Dig a little deeper when asking your employees about their performance. You don’t have to wait until your next one-on-one to find out how your team’s feeling. With all that’s going on, your employees might feel more overwhelmed than usual. There are a lot of challenges to face, and not only work-related. Maybe this is the time to rephrase some of your usual questions:
Instead of “How are you feeling today?”, maybe try “How have you been feeling this week?” “How has your energy been?”. It might feel like a little change but questions like these go a long way. Here are some other examples:
- “What did you do this week that made you proud?” - Give your team a chance to tell you what their achievements are and feel proud of them.
- “What task was complicated for you?” Can I help you out?” - Not seeing them face to face everyday can make it hard to see where your team is struggling.
- “Are you feeling comfortable working at home? If not, what do you find most challenging?” - Some people might love working remotely, and some others might not find it beneficial. Learn from those who do take advantage of it and pass that knowledge on to those who don’t.
- “Do you have any advice on how to improve our communication?” - Always leave the door open to some two-way feedback.
- “Is there a skill you’d want to develop or learn?” - People can get stuck in their ways and stop developing their career the way they intended to. Give them a chance to improve and grow.
- “Do you have any doubts regarding your tasks?” - You might not be getting the results you want because the tasks aren’t as clear as you thought, instead of circling around hoping one day they’ll get there, avoid miscommunication and help them meet their goals.
When using Hirebook’s Check-In feature, you’re able to set up the questions you find appropriate and your employees can answer them in the frequency you set, either weekly, biweekly, monthly or even quarterly.
Provide Them with the Right Tools
We do not necessarily mean hardware equipment. When moving towards a home office or hybrid model, remote employees could be in the need of additional training on how to work effectively from another location, or even some knowledge on emotional wellbeing given what the world is going through.
Remote management also means you’ll need to be in constant communication with your employees. Email just doesn’t cut it anymore and receiving texts from your manager on your personal phone could be a catastrophe waiting to happen... Find an appropriate way to communicate with them while keeping it professional. Apps like Slack, Google Suite or Microsoft Teams are a perfect way to do so! When you provide your team with these types of tools, you encourage accountability and a professional culture. Keep your team on the loop!
Besides asking insightful questions, another way to boost productivity and keep your team engaged is to check in on them on a regular basis. A lot of managers schedule calls either daily or every other day. You can have your usual one-on-ones where you focus more on individuals and have team calls to address team matters. By having a steady schedule of such meetings, employees will feel motivated to prepare themselves with insights and questions for every call and you’ll be able to:
- Identify existing or potential blockers
- Determine your employees’ strengths and areas for improvement
- Gain your team’s trust
- Encourage development
- Build up your team
If checking-in with your employees is important while working in the office, doing it while teleworking is even more important! Go the extra mile with a few extra minutes.
This 2020 has brought a lot of change and uncertainty, but we might be able to use the “new normal” in our favor. Take advantage of Hirebook’s Check-in feature and set up the perfect questions to understand how your employees are feeling, track their progress and remove blockers.
Hirebook’s Integrations provide your team with apps such as Slack, Google, Microsoft and more, helping you to stay connected and in sync with your colleagues. Check out the other HR integrations Hirebook has partnered with, and manage your employees, payroll, benefits and more from just one place!
Photo credit - Freepik.com