Common Productivity Errors When Managing Remote Teams

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Productivity|Common Productivity Errors When Managing Remote TeamsTime is money. Or, to put it more accurately, how you use your time is money. And that’s as true for you as it is for every member of your team. Particularly in the current climate. Even in the best of times, every day is a battle for productivity, the wring the most out of every day, optimize output and ensure that your overhead costs (including the costs associated with your personnel) are maintaining an optimal ROI. In the current climate, however, maintaining and managing productivity has taken on a whole new level of importance.

After all, this is one of the most economically and commercially challenging times in recent history. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have had to implement radical operational changes almost overnight, or risk losing ground to competitors with potentially fatal consequences. Every customer and every sale seems harder won than ever, and your competitors are snapping at your heels more voraciously than ever before as they try to engage customers who have become increasingly loath to spend.

You’re likely still adjusting to managing your team remotely. And as a leader, it’s up to you to ensure that you get the most out of each and every one of them. That means avoiding these all-too-commonly made mistakes…

Assuming that productivity isn’t your responsibility

Your employees need to take responsibility for their own productivity, right? Your job is to oversee and facilitate, not to babysit and cajole? This mentality, while understandable, is an oversimplification that can cause serious lapses in productivity and profitability.

Yes, employees need to be accountable for their own productivity. But it’s your responsibility to provide a technological and operational infrastructure that allows them to get the most out of every day. And to give them support and guidance when they struggle with this.

Failing to use the right communications tools

Speaking of technological infrastructures, you’ve likely had to make some changes to yours in order to maintain connectivity and communications. Yet, while improved technologies have made it easier for teams to communicate, failing to use the right tools (or failing to use their full gamut of capabilities) can be damaging to your productivity and your ROI. The right tools can reduce misunderstandings, facilitate collaboration and multitasking and help to maintain social cohesion among your employees. Which brings us to…

Neglecting the importance of socialization

Your employees miss one another! They miss the sense of camaraderie they shared. The feeling of working together to achieve shared goals, and the sense of buzz and excitement that pervaded in your physical workplace. And while it’s easy to dismiss social cohesion as a by-product of a productive working environment, it’s actually the engine that drives it! Which is why it’s important for leaders and entrepreneurs to set time aside for social activities, even if necessity dictates that they’re carried out remotely. This link has some great ideas for remote activities for teams.

Maintaining rigid working hours

Structure is important. It helps members of your team to compartmentalize their time and their thoughts. It allows them to distinguish between “home mode” and “work mode” when working remotely and prevent team members from pushing themselves too hard, stretching themselves too thin and burning out. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that rigid working hours must (or should) need to be enforced.

Indeed, maintaining the same 9 to 5 working day could actually be counterproductive to remote employees. According to a 2020 study, a 94% majority of respondents said that they would benefit from increased work flexibility. Most commonly cited benefits included improved mental health / stress management, better ability to manage their home and personal commitments and happier working days.

A little flexibility can go a long way in keeping your team happy, healthy and a peak productivity.

Failing to recognize and celebrate employee achievements

Finally, it can be very challenging to keep your team motivated when they’re working remotely. Working from home means having to contend with a range of distractions from the urgency of housework to the allure of daytime TV. And when employees don’t feel engaged in their work, it’s very difficult to remain motivated. Especially when you’re not on-site to guide and support them.

The good news, however, is that recognition from leaders and peers alike can go a long way in facilitating engagement and motivation. There are a wealth of employee recognition apps which work just like social media platforms. Through them you can recognize, share and celebrate employee achievements. Not only does this help to engage employees, it also helps to build a greater sense of social cohesion amongst your team.

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