Tips to Avoid Remote Work Disconnect

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In our new remote work era, it’s more important than ever to employ best practices and strategies to keep employees engaged and productive. The movement from the prestigious and extravagant corporate office environment to the relaxed and comfortable “wear your pajamas as regular work attire”, has been the norm for so many employees thanks to COVID-19. Managing employees in-person requires a completely different set of skills than remote management.

There are numerous “Work from Home” (WFH) employee challenges and solutions that are talked about again and again to give comfort and encouragement to the employee. We’ve all had the Zoom call with a surprise screaming child screeching in the background. Or the obnoxious continuous barking of a beloved dog at the approaching package delivery to the doorstep. These embarrassing interruptions to our ‘LIVE’ deep collaborative brainstorming session have become all too familiar.

Organized time-management is important when working from home to cultivate a balanced work-life balance. Creating an agenda for work and sticking to it will develop necessary boundaries that are particularly difficult when your laptop is planted so conveniently next to you while enjoying a movie with your family.

Many employees, even the most introverted, have also experienced loneliness and feelings of isolation.  In the age we live in, technology gives us the means to utilize tools for collaboration and communication with others.

Inefficient communication, absence of metrics, and lack of leadership development are all barriers to remote work options.

How to Avoid the Remote Work Disconnect and Retain Your Workplace

  1. Create Social Communication Online
  • Connect with Technology – Continue to keep connected with employees through technology and use video conferences, when possible, to foster feelings of being a part of the team.
  • Plan for Meeting Time – Internal communications about projects, goals, and team accomplishments are necessary to help keep employees up to date. Scheduling time for both one-on-ones and team meetings to share will empower workers and support feelings of being connected and engaged.
  • Acknowledge Great Work – Communication will create a strong growing relationship so asking for and listening to feedback can continue to grow trust. A positive company culture boosts feelings of sharing thoughts and ideas. Acknowledge what you heard from them, as this is fundamental to keep remote employees engaged.
  • Show Recognition – Pulling in a nice paycheck is always great, but employee recognition can be an even more effective, but simple, way to show appreciation. An online recognition platform can be advantageous for employees to see, comment, and encourage one another. Employee recognition from leadership as well as peers promotes value, connectedness, appreciation.
  • Develop Deeper Connections – Promote social communication through team connections, games and activities to continue to grow your relationship. By asking about family and what they like to do outside of work, or how their mental and emotional stresses are during these unprecedented times will help feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  1. Metrics
  • WFH Employee Productivity Measuring Tools – Measuring productivity can be as simple as output per unit of time. Therefore, policies and processes created for each individual job that are clear and concise as to how your company will measure your productivity is crucial. Employees will know what will be expected of them and will establish trust.
  • Generate Phases for Tasks Assigned – When tasks are laid out clearly employees and employers can visibly report daily, weekly, and yearly. Additionally, planning for future projects will be straightforward with this clear-cut reporting of tasks assigned in phases.
  • Use of Project Management Software – Everyone can be on the same wavelength if all employees are trained to invariably report detailed explanations of tasks that are still in progress and others finalized on a cloud-based software tool. With clear expectations already in place, it will help employees prioritize work and again build trust.
  • Put Into Action a Strong Reporting System – Prompt reporting keeps everyone informed on work status, pinpoint possible obstacles, and when take prompt action. Depending on the leadership team and what each leader prefers, will establish which reports that will be generated at end of day, weekly, and monthly.
  1. Leadership Development
  • Adjust Your Perspective of Work – In the past, companies and leadership have based performance measurement on what they can ‘see’.  Remote work removes this direct visibility to the actions and performance of employees. This flawed expectation must be adjusted to bridge the gap between company practices and the working conditions that employees want.
  • Train Managers – Many companies do not realize that their new working arrangement is unproductive because they have simply sent staff home, rather than giving employees and managers the proper training or resources to successfully work remotely.
  • Fill the Toolbox – To ensure your employees are confident and empowered to perform at the top of the game, make sure your team is ready to succeed and has a full toolbelt on with all the necessary training to be productive and engaged.

Help your team succeed with the toolbelt and training required to engage and retain a satisfied remote workforce. It will keep your teams connected and productive.

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About Author

James Lanier

James Lanier is an HR consultant and business unit director for UnniCo, an international process improvement and consulting company.