This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Dipanshu Mutreja.
Starting a business and having remote employees can be a challenging task. Be it about checking up on them for work or giving them asks or ensuring they understand the culture and what is expected of them. However, today we are going to learn some tricks of the trade which will ensure that you have a productive and engaged remote team. Working remotely should not be taboo.
With freelancers, startups, and side-hustlers booming, people must understand the importance of working remotely and also find a way to ensure that the team is productive. So, let’s find out how we can do that:
1. Onboarding Experience
When you hire someone in the startup/freelancing world or when you are just starting up your profession, then the new hire needs to know what is expected of him/her not only in terms of the work to be done but also in terms of the culture you want to build. Making all these things very clear in the beginning would go a long way in ensuring that your team responds and works in a way you expect even while working remotely.
So, always remember the first day is important!
2. Use Technology to Track Progress
Tools like Asana, Slack, WhatsApp groups, and Excel templates are free, easily accessible, and a lifeline for small businesses that cannot afford fancy software to record daily business. The key when you are first starting is to make sure that you focus on action and getting the money in first rather than spending your funds on fancy software. Frugality is the way friends!
3. Assign Connect Time
When you work remotely, then you need to make sure that you make full use of technology using the tools mentioned in the previous point and keep connecting at regular intervals or as and when it is required.
But make sure the connect is need-driven or occurs after set intervals, as otherwise it will leak a lot of productive time. Assign tasks and ask the person to let you know the date and time by which they will complete those tasks so you can gauge their productivity, but don’t breathe down your employees’ necks all the time.
4. Measure Production and Not Hours
You should be concerned about the work and not the time the other person is investing/spending in the office or on the laptop. So make sure you put in place a system to check with the amount of work they have done rather than the bland and boring hours spent on the system.
This will motivate your team to be more efficient rather than being a drag.
Also, promoting a culture of remote working boosts employee morale as they can avoid unnecessary commute hours which essentially increases productivity. Now, choose – do you want more productivity or more face time? The ones choosing the former, give me a cheer!
5. Meetups and Check-ins
In-person connection is very important as it enables you to build personal rapport with your team. Building such rapport is important to help your team feel that they are working in a human environment rather than with robots who are only concerned with tasks. If you cannot meet in person, do a Zoom / Skype call and chat about your past week.
WARNING: Don’t talk about work!
6. Thanksgiving Day
The biggest companies make sure that employee satisfaction is maintained by assigning a “thank you day” wherein people, in the team thank each other for their contributions to the team and the organization in total. Expressing thanks and appreciation towards your staff ensures you have smiling faces all around filled with gratitude. You would be amazed to see how much of an impact these things can make.
7. Culture Message from Leadership
Record a video in which you discuss in detail what culture and attitude you expect in your people. Circulate it among your team members and ask for their feedback and input. Making your video a monologue would be boring, but making your video a dialogue would promote inclusiveness.
Also, managers and leadership should promote remote working especially for employees who travel to the workplace from longer distances. Many companies encourage (and even pay for!) their remote employees to utilize coworking spaces, as coworking helps increase staff productivity, reduce loneliness, and expand professional networks. This just goes to show that you run an employee-friendly organization and can go a long way in reducing churn rates.
Dipanshu Mutreja, Writer at OFA
Dipanshu Mutreja currently resides in Delhi, India. He runs a coworking space app OFA through which people in Delhi/NCR can book a Coworking Space / Meeting Room on a pay per use model. He can be reached on LinkedIn.