With each passing day, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it will take more than a couple of months for the crisis of COVID-19 to be contained, leave alone eliminating it down to zero percent.
As a result, remote work has quickly become the norm. As compared to any other time in history, more people are working from home instead of going to their traditional offices each day. With no permanent solution to the novel coronavirus insight, we never know for long we’ll have to stay and keep on working from where we are.
Without a doubt, remote working has its advantages for both employers and employees. Some of the benefits for employers include:
- Downsize their office due to reduced staff
- Do not need to have a physical office at all
- Savings on equipment
- Recruit the best talent from anywhere in the world
- Fewer overheads
- Improved employee retention rates
- Improved productivity & engagement
For employees, the benefits of remote work include:
- Less time spent commuting
- Save money on commuting
- Get work flexibility
- Better work-life balance
- Promotes employees well-being
- Work at their own pace
- Create a customizable office
- Learn more and become more independent
As a Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, I’ve found that while working from home is beneficial for both sides, one of the major problems in remote working is difficulty in managing workflows with remote teams, with some members dispersed across different geographical locations and varied time zones. With no physical interaction between employees, some workers can get disconnected and isolated, which can cause workflow process breakdowns.
What is a Workflow Process?
The workflow process can be defined as a series of interconnected activities that need to be completed in a specific sequence to achieve a repeatable business outcome. The process is linear and moves forward in a predetermined sequence. These tasks are not one-off events and are done regularly.
Remote working can lead to communication gaps and some employees may not catch up with the rest of the team, which can slow or even break down the workflow process. However, there are several effective ways that can help to keep the work flowing smoothly from one stage to another, without disruptions or delays. Based on my personal experience with remote teams, here are six easy-to-implement ideas to keep the ball rolling.
- Ask Your Team To Follow a Schedule
We know how remote working gives your team certain flexibility, but that does not mean they have the liberty to do things as they please. If you want your team to meet deadlines and coordinate with each other, it would require a regimented approach to work requests and assignments.
You can create a schedule for them that offers some amount of flexibility to your employees. After all, 78% of employees feel that flexible scheduling makes them more productive. Monitor your team members closely to see if they are adhering to their schedule or doing their own thing instead.
Organize and manage schedules in one place with an all-in-one software ProofHub. Sign up for FREE today.
2. Have a Regular Virtual Team Meetings
Since communication gaps can lead to bigger problems during remote working, one important thing you need to do as a team manager or employer is to have virtual meetings with staff regularly. You can set up such meetings daily, once every two days, or weekly, depending on your company’s workflow.
Set a fixed time for meetings where all team members participate over a video call using different apps like Google Hangouts, Skype, or WhatsApp. You can choose a time that is convenient for all employees, especially if some of them are in different time zones. During the meeting, you can ask for updates on the current, pending, and upcoming tasks from every employee.
At the same time, you can also take their feedback and see if they are facing any problem in their work.
3. Use Collaboration Tools
As mentioned earlier in the article, remote employees can feel demotivated and left out of the pack. Proactive steps need to be taken to ensure they feel included and an essential part of the team. Nearly two-thirds of remote workers feel worried that their colleagues will not keep them in look while making any changes to project plans.
This is where using all-in-one project planning software like ProofHub can help to keep everyone on the same page. With powerful built-in tools like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, Chat, Calendar, etc., every update, changes made to project planning, and workflow process will be easily visible to all.
4. Create Tasks and Divide Them at One Place
It can be hard to track the work that’s being done and track the progress of the project at every stage. For in-house teams that share the same office space daily, it’s easy to stay connected and keep track of the project status. On the other hand, assigning tasks to remote workers carries a touch of uncertainty to it.
Using an efficient project management system featuring Kanban boards, which allows you to create tasks and subtasks, assign them to multiple people at one place, and set time estimates for each task is one effective way of having a bird’s eye view of the workflow as it moves from one stage to another.
“Visualize task stages and empower teams to self manage with a better understanding of workflows with ProofHub. Try now for FREE!”
5. Encourage Healthy Competition Between Employees
As much as it is important to build a bond between the employees, it is equally important to encourage healthy competition among them. It will make them work harder to prove their mettle positively. However, it should be executed in a way that there are no ill feelings among employees.
An easy way to get started with this is by setting a deadline to complete a project. Tell individual employees or the entire team about surprise rewards to be given if the goal is achieved in a specific time frame. Winners can be rewarded with simple gifts like a free meal, a small cash prize, or a free online shopping coupon.
6. Prioritize Feedback and Recognition
Since remote teams rarely get an opportunity to mingle with in-office teams and be a part of team celebrations, it is up to HR managers and team managers to create a recognition plan especially for them. Peer recognition is a powerful motivator for all employees to get the best out of them and motivate them to do even better.
Managers can use virtual meetings, phone calls, or company emails to congratulate remote employees on the job well done, which is as effective as an in-person pat on the back. Recognizing their earnest efforts will also boost their confidence and allow them to give and receive feedback.
The Final Analysis
Managing workflow across remote teams is easier said than done, especially when there’s no in-person interaction as in traditional offices. Minus effective strategies and software applications, it can be cumbersome and challenging for team managers to keep all remote workers engaged, updated, motivated, and most importantly, at their productive best.
I hope the aforementioned ideas will help team managers to get the most out of their remote work while keeping their team members happy and satisfied. Best of Luck!
Thinking Beyond Profit
As an ethical business, ProofHub has decided to offer a free subscription to schools for the rest of the year 2020. You can have full information here. We are aware of the challenges faced by schools due to indefinite lockdown in many countries in the times of COVID-19. ProofHub has a set of powerful tools in one centralized location so teachers, admins, and students can easily collaborate to achieve common goals.
If you enjoyed reading this article:
Clap: so others can find it
Comment: if you have a question/suggestion you’d like to ask
Follow: ProofHub to read all the articles