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The rise of remote work has led to changes across all industries, as companies transition their in-office operations to be handled remotely. Navigating this transition hasn’t been easy for some companies, as many leaders are skeptical of their employees’ productivity in remote work environments, despite its proven success.
Leadership teams that have had to transition their operations to remote work in recent years may still need a little convincing that working outside of a centralized office can be just as effective as being together in person, if not more so. Below, 15 Forbes Business Council members share some effective ways to help leaders work through their skepticism and close the gap in understanding.
1. Establish Open Communication
Closing the gap between leaders and employees regarding remote productivity requires a multifaceted approach. The first step is to build a solid foundation for open communication between both parties. From there, the leader must gain a clear understanding of human motivations. This enables them to understand each employee’s unique circumstances and key psychological motivators. – Alain J Roy, ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc.
2. Track And Communicate Performance
One way to close the gap between leaders and employees regarding productivity in a remote work setting is to regularly track and communicate individual and team performance. This can provide transparency and accountability while also improving motivation and engagement, leading to better performance and success. – Jason Saltzman, Relief
3. Having Constant Communication
Our company went from a physical location to a completely remote workplace during the pandemic. It worked so well that we have stuck with it since then. The keys to our success have been daily team meetings that mix personal and business, as well as managers who work closely with their team daily. The magic happened through constant communication and a team that has bought into our company culture. – Rob Kosberg, Best Seller Publishing
4. Consider The Emotional Benefits Of Remote Work
The problem isn’t that leaders don’t believe research. It’s more so that they don’t want to accept the consequences of employee preferences, even if it enhances productivity. It’s what psychologists call the ostrich effect. Leaders must accept that a short-term solution is now part of a long-term fabric. To reduce pushback and perceived risk, firms must promote benefits in an emotional rather than a logical appeal. – Nuala Walsh, MindEquity
5. Implement Tools To Better Monitor Productivity
Remote work is the future of the workplace, and when leadership fails to see that it’s increasing productivity, it is often because they are failing to implement tools and policies that help employees demonstrate productivity. By implementing task managing software and frequent meetings on Zoom or Slack, leaders can be kept apprised of their employees’ productivity in real time! – Alex Micol, Scalers
6. Strive To Achieve Goals Instead Of Running Out The Clock
Let there be clear goals at the individual, team and company levels. At the end of a defined period, do a quick check or audit to see whether these goals are being met. This is a more effective measure of productivity than the number of hours spent at the desk. – Abhinav Girdhar, Appy Pie LLC
7. Increase Feedback Between Leaders And Employees
As a fully remote organization, we have reinvigorated company culture and increased feedback and communication between leadership and employees. Open communication has been incredibly effective to recognize employee efforts and success while also ensuring that both personal and organizational goals are being met amid the transition to a remote workforce. – Brian Fugere, symplr
8. Use Technology To Support Employees Out Of The Office
I believe leaders who are skeptical haven’t developed processes to ensure productivity continues if their employees aren’t in the office. We started taking advantage of the software available to make sure our employees feel connected and supported. This has led to great communication that is really no different than if they were in our physical office. Use technology to your advantage! – Chris Clear, Clear Storage Group, LLC
9. Find Employees Who Are Fit For Remote Work
Remote work is great in many respects, but some employees just aren’t built for it. I believe it’s less about closing the gap in understanding between employees that aren’t necessarily self-starters and leaders and more about ensuring your hiring process is strong enough to sift out candidates that may not be a good fit for a remote work environment. Target remote work veterans, not novices. – Tevin Jackson, Stellar Service Group
10. Establish Clear Goals For Your Team
Is the team producing? Is the team happy? At the end of the day, the results speak for themselves. Therefore, set clear goals for your team. This way, you can truly evaluate them as they work remotely. Studies will also show that happy employees are also more motivated to work, so it is in your best interest to ensure they are motivated and happy in their roles. Asking these two questions is effective. – Tim Yelchaninov, True Finance
11. Trust Employees To Do Their Jobs
We are entering a new era of enterprise collaboration and productivity. Leading organizations know that employees must be trusted with their time and resources. Studies may also occasionally point to opportunities for improvement. Remote work is here to stay for the long run because it’s grounded in the undeniable forces of team flexibility, organizational agility, employee empowerment and trust. – Bruno Gralpois, Agency Mania Solutions
12. Have A Clear Company Vision
The largest single factor driving the gap between leaders and employees is their differing meanings of the word “productivity” itself. Productivity to many employees is just the value exchange of time for money, whereas leaders see it as progress toward the organization’s goals. A clear vision shared between leaders and employees will bridge the gap by aligning everyone’s purpose. – Matthew Davis, GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.
13. Start With A Pilot Work Model
When leaders doubt it, I often say start with a pilot and measure the results. Ultimately, they will find that not only has the productivity been maintained or increased, but so has the employee engagement. Many companies have been fully remote for years and you can clearly see how this has benefited their culture, recruitment and retention. – Geoffrey Roche, Core Education PBC
14. Use Statistics
Everyone should have a function, and that function will produce certain outcomes. That outcome can be measured, and ultimately, should be aligned with the key strategies of the company. Sometimes, a group of people should be close together for collaboration, and other times, remote work allows for space and time to focus. However, if the statistics improve, then you are doing something right. – Jean Paul De Silva Clauwaert, Web Content Development
15. Have A Balance
There needs to be a balance. Make sure leaders and employees understand that some days, they may be more productive remotely, but don’t lose sight of the importance of creativity and collaboration in the office. Managers working with their direct reports need to identify that balance is key. – Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems