One of the advantages of having employees in an office space setting is the ease of management. It is simple to have frequent interactions to check on deadlines, assess the progress of a project, and have team members interact to facilitate communication and understanding.
The Rise of Remote Work … And Its Challenges
During the pandemic, businesses of all types moved from onsite work to remote work. It turned the business into a network of multiple virtual offices. Naturally, this change created stress for management teams in evaluating employees’ productivity and keeping the lines of communication open.
For many businesses, the first step to address the remote work challenge was to find tracking and productivity management software. This also included adding regular meetings using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, or other platforms and software options. Unfortunately, this additional tracking had negative effects.
The Problem with Tracking
While it is natural for managers to worry about productivity and time on task when employees are working from home, adding more software is not the right solution. Requiring employees to track details of what they are doing takes time. This is time they are not performing their assigned duties.
It is not uncommon for project management software to require constant input of data to track daily activities. If this task takes up even ten percent of the workday, that is half a day of productivity lost each week.
A Better Approach
A better and more effective option to tracking remote work productivity is to communicate deadlines and milestones for the project in a clear and consistent fashion. Streamlining the process and freeing up project staff from unnecessary communication is key to keeping team members at top productivity.
As a manager, finding a way to stay in touch with the team without creating additional work is critical. Make communication and sharing information a practical process rather than a time-consuming, stressful addition to the day. Find the software or the communication platform that works for your team and the project.
Our Experience Managing Remote Workers
For example, at Office Edge we’ve embraced the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and found many of the tools very helpful in facilitating effective remote communication and coordination, and therefore efficient remote work. These tools include Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Planner.
It took some time to learn the tools and train our staff, but the improved infrastructure allowed us to balance the need to remain fully operational with the safety of having most staff work from home throughout the pandemic. Clients utilizing our receptionist and virtual assistant, bookkeeping, and paralegal solutions didn’t even notice a difference.
Communicating the Essentials
Communication around deadlines, expectations, and regular status updates benefits the entire team. When the manager clearly articulates and tracks progress, it is easier to provide the resources needed and clear obstacles identified by the team. When online meetings are scheduled, keep them brief and to the point.
To be an effective communicator, the flow of information must be predictable. Schedule update emails, list upcoming deadlines, and be sure to highlight any areas where progress is lagging. Some managers use a color-coded system of green, yellow, red highlighted text to make information stand out.
Finally, spend time celebrating and promoting the success of each team member. Check in and provide support, listening to the recommendations of team members to become a more effective communicator and manager.
Need to Augment Your Staff in Coral Gables?
Is your business in a remote work scenario? Do you need help augmenting your staff? Check out our Coral Gables virtual assistant solutions and work with someone who can help you and your team be effective working remotely.