Human beings are facing unpredictable, challenging times as novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in many countries. Millions are infected with this pandemic and thousands could not survive it. Even the most developed nations of the world are clueless about its potential treatment as the number of casualties continues to mount daily.
Responsible businesses have recognized the severity of the situation and shut down their operations. They have asked employees to work from home to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. While technology-based solutions have granted both employers and employees the much-needed flexibility, working remotely can take its toll on the emotional health of the latter.
With millions working from home for a few weeks now, many team managers and bosses worry about remote workers’ low engagement and falling productivity due to various reasons: the absence of physical interaction with coworkers, loneliness, stress, etc.
As a Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, I have been in a situation where some of my team members struggled with lost motivation while working remotely. Their morale was low, which also negatively affected their well-being besides the quality of work. I counted on my experience and valuable tips of prominent thought leaders to encourage the suffering members to come out of the pool of negativity that they were stuck in.
How Managers Can Effectively Manage Remote Workers
According to the 2018 State of Remote Work, loneliness can be the biggest contributor to remote workers’ loss of productivity. However, being alone is not the only reason for this fact.
So, the onus is on managers to make sure all employees are in their best state of mind to work towards a common goal. I am sharing some of the best tips that can be implemented by team managers, leaders, and bosses to prevent their remote workers from slipping into the trauma of isolation and stress.
1. Out of Sight? Not Exactly
Employees who are accustomed to proximity with coworkers often experience colleague deprivation. Many workers have great friends in the office, so the physical distance can make them feel lost and insecure. However, by using tools such as FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc., you can let all your team members feel the part of the pack.
Since the workers are no longer able to participate in casual conversations and work-related discussions that are the part and parcel of any office environment, video conferencing is a great way to visually communicate and collaborate with in-office teams.
Additionally, you can also use the chat feature for quick conservation and direct messaging. The idea is to keep every remote worker ‘in the loop’, so he/she doesn’t feel left out.
Have fast one-on-one, or group discussions with team members and clients in one single place with ProofHub. Get started now with a free trial!
2. Offer Encouragement and Emotional Support
For some employees, the abrupt shift to remote working might not be as smooth and easy as for others. As a manager, you should acknowledge the stress and isolation of your employees, make honest efforts to reach out to them, and successfully motivate them to bring out the best from them.
Talk to them, listen to their problems, and empathize with their challenges. If the employee is new and not communicating stress or anxiety, encourage him to clearly express his situation.
As a leader, your team members look to you for encouragement. You have to show them that you understand their problems. At the same time, you have to instill a sense of confidence in them and tell them that you have complete faith in their ability to overcome such hurdles.
3. Have Longer One-On-Ones
Since you and your team members will not be interacting with each other physically for some time, as a responsible team manager, the onus lies on you to make extra efforts in communicating with every member of your team.
You should make time to schedule one-on-one talks with your employees. Doing so will make them feel valued and share with you any of their ideas or concerns. Make it known to them that you are accessible anytime they feel like getting in touch with you. At the same time, you should also clearly define timings for communication, so you can give time out to your family too.
One-on-one is the ideal way for employees to address any issues they are hesitant to share in group meetings. Listen to their concerns with an open mind, and focus on solutions in place of complaints. Encourage them to share both work-related as well as personal issues too. It’s best to use video calls for one-on-one conversation as it helps to notice the body language and facial expressions of the participants.
4. Give Your Remote Employees The Best Tools To Work With
Work-related stress is common and it gets worse for an employee who also has to deal with isolation. According to Nielson, 80% of Americans indicated they feel stressed at work. Long hours, heavy workload, tight deadlines, job insecurity, lack of solid work-life balance, etc, are some common reasons that add to the physical and mental stress of employees.
As a leader, you can make honest efforts to make sure your team has got the best tools to work with, to manage tasks easily and speedily. If your team members can’t chat instantly, store and organize files in one place, or don’t know who’s supposed to do what, it will only create chaos.
ProofHub tops the list as it is the only Project Management Software that offers all the tools in one centralized location, which saves a lot of time and energy of employees. Sign up now to simplify project management!
5. Trust Your Team
“The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led — is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” — Brian Tracy
As is evident from this quote, trust is the foundation of strong relationships. Some team managers are quite skeptical about the remote workforce. It stems from the fact that whether or not remote workers would be able to deliver with the same efficiency as that of a regular office worker.
However, once you’ve set work-from-home guidelines, clear expectations and defined responsibilities, you should put your trust in the team to get the job done. As a responsible team manager, your job is to provide them the best tools and environment for the job and expect them to follow through.
Remember that while your team looks upon to navigate through complex challenges, they expect to be given space and freedom to go about theirs. Don’t be a supervisor and get into micromanagement.
Managing remote employees asks for extra efforts from team leaders because there’s no physical interaction and frequent discussions. Stress and isolation are common issues faced by remote employees but can be overcome by building trust and empathy within your team.
A captain is as good as his team, so the buck stops with you. Acknowledge the problem, be accessible, communicate, and connect with your team to work towards a common goal.
No matter how talented your team is, they would still need the best tools to work with. ProofHub is a highly reliable, all-in-one project management software system with inbuilt features to help teams plan, collaborate, organize, and deliver projects on time.
Considering the severity of pandemic COVID-19, ProofHub has chosen to serve mankind in its own unique and thoughtful way. ProofHub is made available free of cost for schools around the globe for the year 2020, so teachers, admins, and students can be on the same page, using the set of powerful tools in one centralized location.
Sign up for ProofHub and email to customer support to get started!
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