In the right circumstances, a remote working lifestyle improves productivity, encourages creativity, and drives better outcomes. Some people even find that working from home helps them to enjoy a better work/life balance and avoid the stress of a morning commute.
However, just as there are positive sides to remote working, there can be negatives too.
People unused to working outside of the office can struggle with staying productive and motivated in a home environment. Some professionals who work remotely also struggle with feelings of isolation and disengagement when they don’t regularly connect with coworkers.
So, how do you help your employees manage the feelings of stress that sometimes come with a remote working lifestyle?
Be Flexible with Schedules
When employees first start working from home, it’s tempting to keep them on the same schedule that they followed in the office. This could mean logging into collaboration tools like Slack and time-tracking tools at the same time every morning.
Some employees will thrive on this consistent schedule. However, others will find it hard to concentrate at home during the same hours that they would be active in the office.
Team members that have children to look after might be at their most productive during the school hours, meaning that they need to start and finish earlier.
People who have a hard time focusing first thing in the morning might prefer to work a little later. As long as the right projects get done according to deadlines, it’s worth giving your team some flexibility.
Help Employees Prioritise
Without a manager or supervisor to hang over their shoulder every day, some employees won’t know where to get started with their tasks. It may be helpful for you to introduce them to time management practices that will help with this.
For instance, you could suggest the “eat the frog” method, where employees tackle the most challenging project of the day first. Alternatively, you might inspire your team members to schedule the most difficult tasks for when they feel most productive.
Whenever you’re assigning tasks, make sure that your employees know each project’s level of importance and the deadline. This will help them make better decisions about what can be moved to a later date, or even delegated elsewhere.
Focus on Great Communication
When employees work from home, it’s easy for them to feel isolated from the office and the rest of the team. This can sometimes cause employees to think that they’re “out of the loop”.
To maintain positive relationships between your team members, and encourage commitment to your business, focus on plenty of regular communication.
Have weekly meetings where you can update all of your remote employees on what’s happened over the last seven days, and what’s new for your company.
You can also schedule one-on-one conversations with employees every few months to get feedback on how well they’re doing, and where they might need extra help.
Remember that encouraging non-business conversations is helpful too. Watercooler chat helps to build relationships in a team setting. Make sure that your people have a place where they can talk freely about their lives.
Make Sure Your Team Has Everything They Need
Your team members should feel just as productive working from home as they do in the office. Part of ensuring that your employees can operate efficiently is making sure that they have access to the right tools.
This could mean giving team members access to extra cash so that they can buy ergonomic desk chairs or pay a little more for a faster internet connection.
You might also need to ensure that your employees have access to the same cloud-based tools that they would use in the office for things like project management and taking calls.
Since your employees won’t have access to an IT expert like they do in the office, it’s also helpful to provide some training on how to solve common PC and tech problems. Slow computers delay projects and add to the strain and pressure that employees feel.
Offering your team some quick insights into how they can get their PC working perfectly can make a massive difference to their wellbeing.
Adapt and Grow
Finally, making the most of a remote working environment can be a learning experience for everyone involved. If you’re only just starting to support remote work for the first time, then the strategies you use now might not be the ones that you rely on in the future.
Pay attention to the feedback that your employees give you and respond to their needs. At the same time, keep track of metrics like employee satisfaction, customer happiness, and other essential data to see whether your remote work campaigns are working.
The more information you have, the easier it will be to create a remote working team that benefits your bottom line, and loves being a part of your company.
Support your Remote Workers
The world is hurrying towards the era of remote work. More than ever before, people are discovering the benefits of working outside of the office. What’s more, employers see the advantages too, in the form of boosted productivity and lower overheads.
However, just like any other workplace strategy, you need to ensure that you’re taking the right approach to remote work. Use the tips above and be ready to learn as you go.