How To Solve Remote Working Challenges
“Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become a crisis.” C.J. Redwine
Remote Working in the global lockdown situation has put organizations into a mass experiment with teams, something not many would have dared try out, had things been normal. While there are a lot of operational efficiencies like rental saved, travel time cut down, etc. here are some of the major challenges that organizations are facing due to the need to handle remote teams:
Communication problem in Remote Working
Communication has been affected adversely – right from delegating work to team coordination, to knowing the progress of ongoing work, and so on.
71% of employees say their employers should increase their transparency, especially in remote work. Some of the ways in which organizations are trying to effectively communicate are
- creating a virtual schedule
- using multiple channels to communicate
- no micromanagement by managers
- transparency in work
Not understanding what your colleagues are communicating can be difficult. Does nonverbal communication play a role? As co-workers, we generally are used to observing the subtle changes that occur in our colleague’s body language. How does this work in a remote environment? Say for example, as a manager you are delegating important work to your employee by messaging her/him. You wouldn’t know if they have understood what you have asked. Leading to the task being done in a manner that does not meet your requirement. So, instead of messaging if you would have done a video call her/his body language would have given you enough cues that they were not unsure of what they have to do. Thus observing body language through a video call is very essential. Of course, a video call might not always be feasible, but during the important task delegations or updations, it can be a great help to see the person while speaking with them.
High trust organizations employees experience 106% more energy while working with a 50% increase in productivity.
A major problem which employees are facing is that their managers can’t trust them. There is the constant checking of work by managers due to WFH which was non-existent when they were at the workplace. Trust issues have also lead to a downfall of confidence and self-esteem of employees.
Say when you ask your employee if they would accomplish a task by the end of the day and they say yes. With remote work, you want precise time and keep on asking them on till they finish the task. Making your employees feel, that you don’t trust them or their capabilities. So might as do a video call than a phone call. Nonverbally, just being able to see someone is good enough to be able to trust them better. Because then you can observe their body language and know if their words are in sync with their body language.
Laszlo Bock the former HR Chief of Google told WSJ that workers were “terrified of losing their jobs,” but such “fear-driven productivity is not sustainable”
Employers fear losing crucial data, business losses, and not completing projects in time. On the other hand, clients fear the security of their data. And employees fear no growth within their organization, death of creativity and the topmost fear is of losing their job.
So when employees feel they will lose their jobs, have regular interactions with them on video call assuring them or appreciating their work. When they see you, they would be more willing to agree to what you are saying and hence reduce their fear. The result? Better productivity, happier work-life balance, and thus a more satisfying working environment.
Here is some food for thought remote work:
- How can you decide which team members require more face time than others?
- How do you inspire your teams when you are not physically in their presence?
- How can you understand when your team members’ thoughts and words are out of sync?
- What can you do to tell your team and clients that all of you are in this together and keep your relations intact?
References- Gartner, BIzjournals