As a global pandemic descended on us, the economy had to adapt fast. Organizations discovered that busy offices were untenable, and they quickly transitioned to remote working. However, teething issues followed and many workers are still struggling to reach their potential in this new environment. Here’s how managers can intervene in this new landscape to get the best out of their workers.
1) Check-in With Your Expectations
Management is about initiating productive dialogues that lead to better performance - this has to be a two-way conversation as edicts from higher-ups rarely boost productivity in the long run.
If your employee is underperforming, it’s a good time to check in with your own or your organization’s expectations and see how they align with realistic goals.
Outcomes aren’t the only thing you may need to reassess. Some people simply have different working styles, and whilst you might expect someone's productivity to be evident at regular intervals, a different working style that appears more haphazard might be equally productive if you can switch your perspective.
Good management should be an inclusive project, enabling workers to pursue productivity in a way that suits them - this is especially important as workers transition to working remotely and new habits need to be learned.
2) Find Room For Feedback
Workers need feedback if they’re going to bring their performance in line with your organization’s requirements.
As we shift towards remote working, often the subtle forms of feedback and positive reinforcement inherent in office life can slip away, unnoticed. For example, those passing comments in hallways or break rooms and watercooler moments, all disappear, leaving a vacuum of feedback.
Managers need to be proactive in offering feedback to remote workers. Schedule regular check-ins, which are explicitly about exploring performance, and find ways to be specific in these meetings.
Vague edicts about productivity are rarely helpful, but if you can provide specific examples where their performance hasn’t reached the expected standard, you’ll be one step closer to understanding any gaps
3) Ask Questions
Assuming that every employee works the same way, faces the same set of circumstances, and will respond identically to the same interventions is a recipe for disaster.
As remote working becomes the standard, an individual's workspace becomes precisely that - individual. “As working life becomes more idiosyncratic, managers need to find out the specifics about a worker’s situation to create a positive intervention in productivity,” says Kathleen Dixon, an HR expert at State Of Writing and Revieweal. “Take the time to explore your worker’s home office setups and their routines - embrace their individuality in solutions you’re coming up with.”
4) Keep In Touch
As a manager you have a busy schedule, but as we build new remote working environments, it’s easy for employees to feel out of touch and undermanaged without regular contact.
Don’t expect employees to come to you with problems - more often than not, without the oversight of the physical office, these issues will get pushed to the bottom of the pile. it takes a proactive touch to tackle underperformance in your remote team, iso schedule regular, structured contact throughout the working week.
5) Forge The Path Together
You may see the path clearly for your worker, and imagine that you know what needs to change for them to start contributing effectively. However, if your employee doesn’t share your vision, then any progress is going to be sluggish at best.
Collaborating on solutions to problems of productivity will give your worker agency and create motivation in the future. When you’re coming up with solutions to your employees' problems, engage them in what they think could change for their performance to improve.
By sharing the responsibility for improving between your employee and yourself you’re not only finding better solutions now but creating the space for communication in the future. When your workers feel that they are playing an active role in the organization’s goal and direction, productivity is likely to soar.
Transitioning to remote work requires adaptation in several spheres-- from learning new technology to updating your strategy and goals. Communication is the key to solving remote workers’ problems with productivity. Apply creativity and humanity to the situation and you’ll find collaboration comes easy.
This article is submitted by Katherine Rundell.
She is an HR writer at Essay Writing Service. She writes about trends in employment and sees remote work as the dawn of a new age in business.