Today many business leaders are asking if they can adopt remote working permanently?  They also want to know if Remote Working is actually sustainable?

Sustainability of remote working is measured by the degree at which the business is able to continue to deliver on its expected mandate and its ability to meet its desired goals. Employees need to be productive for the business to be able to perform at its optimum. Hence, for Remote Working to be sustainable, employees have to be engaged and productive whilst they work remotely.

It is worth noting that Remote Working is not a walk in the park.  Some of our clients who have implemented this solution have also erred on the downsides of remote working. Thus, it is imperative for organizations to note and curb some of the obstacles that may be counterproductive for their remote staff.

Below are some of the four elements for managers to look out for, which can hamper employee productivity as they work remotely.

1. Employees Feeling Exhausted, Anxious, Lonely And Stressed,

We are at a time when everything has just become new all of a sudden and nothing seems familiar anymore. There are employees that are exhausted due to having to balance between work and homeschooling their kids. Other employees are grieving the loss of a loved one and some employees are anxious as they battle with thoughts of uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring? If these feelings are left unchecked, they will impact negatively on productivity.
This is the time for managers to lead with empathy. Managers should schedule check-in calls with employees, just to see how things are going without necessarily discussing work tasks. This process can also address emotional and Mental Health issues among your staff.

2. Failure to unplug – Blurry Boundary Between Work And Home

Managers actually add to this challenge by sending emails after business hours expecting a response or action to be taken.
Managers need to discuss acceptable working hours for each team member. Managers need to encourage their teams who are working from home to schedule their work activities so that they know when to switch from work mode and when to switch on to rest/family mode.

3. Fading of Team Cohesion

This happens when the team struggles to collaborate and communicate well. An example of how team cohesion fades is the continuous virtual meetings with participant’s videos switched off. The more you are visually disconnected, the more your team’s bond weakens.
Managers should be intentional in organizing social video conference calls and engage with their teams in fun ways. An example of such a fun way is having your team sharing photos of their workstations or newly found office mates and in this case it could be a spouse or children.

4. Poor communication which leads to failure to deliver expected results

When teams are disintegrated, communication tends to suffer. An email can be interpreted wrongly and sometimes even goals or targets can go uncommunicated.

Managers need to communicate more clearly, provide feedback more regularly and be ready to provide support. You see, when most organizations pivoted to remote working there was just little time to train employees on how to work remotely.  Employees just found themselves having to learn how to swim right in the middle of a deep sea. Unless remote workers are successfully trained on how to be effective, it would be difficult for them to thrive. Hence, managers have a role to play in having their teams capacitated on how to collaborate, communicate and connect so that they can be effective as they work remotely.

The above mentioned are some of the elements to look out for that tend to hamper employee productivity that you should look out for if you want Remote Working to be sustainable for your organization.

Would you want us to draft your new WFH policies or review your existing WFH/Remote Working Policies? Africa for Tomorrow is also offering programs that have been carefully designed towards the development of your organization’s remote workforce.
Contact one of our consultants today.