Right now, in the thick of the COVID-19 virus outbreak that has affected a sizable number of countries all around the world: many companies have had to put their remote and/or home working plans in place. Here are tips to enhance employees productivity.
As an entrepreneur or business manager, you may be fascinated with the whole idea of building a remote team. Or you may fall into the category of leaders who head a remote team but don’t feel that it’s producing the kind of results you would want. So, does remote work actually work? How do you get the best out of your far-off teams?
Does remote teamwork really work?
Think of remote employees just chilling at home in their track suites? I suggest you think again. Stanford Economist Nicholas Bloom conducted a 2-year study of 500 employees at Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, discovered that remote work improved employee productivity by 13%! It also reduced employee attrition by 50% and saved the organization almost $2,000 per employee on rent alone. On the other side of the planet, the American insurance giant Aetna saved as much as $78 million by shedding 2.7 million square feet of office space, all thanks to remote work programs. It doesn’t hurt that the flexibility of remote work is a catalyst for employee happiness, creativity and productivity.
So, yes, if you have the correct processes in place, remote work definitely works.
How do you make your remote team more efficient?
We observed dozens of successful and effective remote teams to understand how best to do it. They set clear and realistic goals, measure the right metrics, engage their people, foster accountability, and build trust through transparency. You can do it too!
1. OKRs, a must have goal system for every manager
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) create alignment and engagement around quantifiable goals. Objectives are your anticipated goals and the results are measurable ways to track progress towards achieving those goals. John Doerr, the venture capitalist who introduced Google to OKRs, described them best – I will (Objective) as measured by (this set of Key Results).
OKRs are public within the organization, so employees can also have a look as to what their co-workers are working on. The likes of Google, Walmart, Spotify and ING Bank use OKRs to set and achieve goals. And so does remote teams such as Piktochart, Buffer, Coworker, and yours truly.
2. Having your projects on track
Now that you have set your OKRs, it’s time to get cracking on those goals. But how do you carefully manage projects in a remote team where people work at different hours and mainly the communication happens asynchronously? Unsurprisingly, the answer is technology.
Modern tools such as JIRA, Trello, Flock, and Asana make it easier for teams, remote or not, to work together on multiple projects with hundreds of moving parts. This not only helps us be more transparent within the team about who is working on what, but also nurtures a sense of ownership and accountability.
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3. Measure the right metrics, not hours to drive performance
Replace the hours at work model of productivity measurement with result-driven performance analytics based on goals. For instance, at Flock, we assess performance in terms of goals achieved using metrics significant to each employee’s job – NPS, leads generated, churn arrested, bugs fixed etc. Performance analytics, if done right helps every team, whether remote or not. In order to shoot up your remote team’s productivity, you should consider the following points:
Evaluate the output of team members working on similar kinds of projects and tasks to calculate median values for better performance. You are A/B testing your team’s output to benchmark performance goals. Set fair deadlines for select tasks and track how long it takes to complete them to measure output with more clarity. A team member missing deadlines way too often? Talk to them to see how you can help meet the set timelines.
Look to achieve goals set by you and your team on different levels, from small wins to reviewing the overall bigger picture. If a project will take a few months, it’s good to break it down into smaller tasks, set daily or preferably weekly objectives and achieve a specific number of goals each week.
4. Balance engagement and freedom within your team
Communication is essential, remote team or not, but you need to strike the right balance. Spending too much time on calls with your team, and they will begin to feel that they are being micromanaged and will eventually become dispassionate. However, spend too little time and they may feel like they have been left out. The trick is to engage your team in meaningful ways while giving them the liberty to do their best work.
Use team messaging apps to bring your team together. Push the use of team chat tools to swiftly discuss ideas and tasks. Schedule group video calls at least once a month to just talk’ and address non-work related challenges that team members can aid each other with. Trust is essentially what successful remote teams run on and even a little effort goes a long way. When the members of your team feel like they can go to you or a colleague about their challenges – even the small ones – they feel empowered, which leads to a much better working relationships, less micromanaging and a more motivated team.
How noCRM and Buffer engage their remote teams
noCRm, a lead management software company uses a 3 Goals a Day system, where each team member shares three priority things they are working on for the day. These don’t necessarily have to be major projectsthe purpose is to show the team smaller and achievable goals that each members wants to accomplish within the day. Buffer goes a step further with daily pair calls that help remote employees connect and build relations while also discussing work.
The secret to building a highly motivated and productive remote team is clear communication, trust, and transparency. Remote teams that are more engaged and where the team members are trusted to finish their work are happier doing it. Encourage transparency and responsibility by using goal-setting and project management systems that will help build a remote workplace that is not only closely connected but also well informed and productive.
The result will see every employee buying into the larger company objectives and generating high-quality work on constant basis. And that’s all any company wants from their employees – remote or not.
Courtesy: India Today
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