Helping employees working at home succeed

During the past two years, more people than ever started working from home. New studies show that more than 4.7 million people work remotely in the US at least half the time and industry experts expect work from home trends to continue in the future years. That means remote work is here to stay. DNU - Fast Pace Health Branded Post CANVA (6)

But as most people know, remote working isn’t always easy. Sure it seems great to be able to lounge in your PJs all day and skip that stressful commute time, but working from home comes with its own challenges. This can be especially true for team leaders who have to work even harder to keep their employees feeling a part of a team.

This is why we wanted to share with you some of the common issues that crop up in remote teams — and some of the solutions that can help address them.

1. Too little communication.

It’s easy to feel isolated working at home alone, especially if you’re used to working with other people in an office setting. Research published in Harvard Business Review found that many remote employees are more likely to feel disconnected and alienated than those who work on-site.

One way to fix this is to check in with each member of your team regularly — and not just via e-mail, Slack or the occasional phone call. Instead, choose face-to-face communication through video conferencing. Make sure to host individual employee calls and team calls. Allow ample time to share what the employee is doing well as well as to hear concerns from the employees. But keep in mind that employees have different needs. Some employees will want more frequent check-ins than others. You can even ask employees how often they’d prefer to meet.

2. No downtime.

When you work from home, it can feel like you never get a break. After all, you’re just a few feet away from your computer most of the time, so it can feel like work is just lingering over you.

But remote workers need a break from work, too. Without time away from work-related e-mail, phone calls and texts, anyone working from home can reach burnout quickly. Make sure you help your team establish boundaries so they can unwind and disconnect when they aren’t ‘at work’. You may want to help them set specific times they will (and won’t) check their emails, for example.

3. Too much oversight

Perhaps you don’t demand constant connectivity from your remote employees, but you still struggle with micromanaging their efforts. There’s a fine line between frequent communication with members of your team and micromanaging their efforts from afar.

If you haven’t managed a remote team before, you may think that employees are more apt to waste time when they work at home, are prone to lose focus and need more management guidance. Studies show the opposite is true. Some studies have shown that remote workers actually work harder and are more efficient than their on-site counterparts. Why? Fewer distractions and interruptions, less socializing and an appreciation of the benefits of remote work, such as no commute, could be reasons. Gallup’s research, for example, found that remote work not only improves outcomes but is an arrangement that the most talented employees seek.

4. No sense of community

It’s hard to feel close and connected to your colleagues when you don’t see their faces or hear their voices regularly. Create opportunities for them to bond from afar. This might include fun end-of-week emails with inspirational quotes, recaps of notable achievements from the past week, and words of encouragement. You could also start recognizing your most outstanding employees/freelancers on a weekly/monthly basis and include a personal bio in your email so others can get to know more about their coworkers. If you want to go beyond this, think about hosting a virtual team-building meeting. But instead of just chatting, set employees up to do virtual escape rooms or play virtual games.

Try these few tips and we know your virtual team will feel better than ever.

COST Financial Group, Inc.

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