Productivity Hacks: 5 Empathetic Secrets to Managing Remote Workers during the Pandemic

by Sudarsan Chakraborty

It’s really not up for discussion. When you have an existential threat outside that may attack you surreptitiously without your awareness, working from home (WFH) is the better alternative. With the virus taking hundreds of thousands of American lives, remote work serves a purpose that’s hard to refute these days. 

And while there are a host of pros and cons for and against remote working, in general, research shows 8 % of remote workers are happy working from home than from the office. Many, in fact, would rather resign and get another job if made to report to the office. 

But remote work isn’t cheap. For one, 73% of IT support teams point out that remote work actually leaves corporate systems more vulnerable than ever to cyber hacks. Such a distributed workforce can be a nightmare for IT guys to protect from cybercriminals. Plus, you will have to ensure each of your remote workers is equipped with the right tools to be able to deliver. Ultimately, that’s added costs for you

What’s more, you’d have to manage your remote workers well to ensure productivity. Above and beyond, your team’s ability to produce quality work will gauge how effective you are as a business manager. 

The good news is managing remote workers need not be an impossible dream.  Keeping a tab on empathy and how experienced firms make their productivity shoot up even when almost everyone is working from home should be wise on your part. Listed below are five expert tips to manage your remote workers with empathy while keeping their productivity in high gear always.

Watch Out for Distress Signals

Empathy is a powerful leadership tool. When you show you really care for your employees’ welfare, productivity could soar like never before. To do that, communicate directly and observe indirectly to keep challenges and tasks crystal clear right from the get-go. Make sure your worker knows that you are there to support and care for them. In short, let them be aware you have their backs. 

It’s important you take a strategic look at how to let that empathetic leadership trickle down from the managers and down to every remote worker. To keep communication flowing, provide managers with a timely guideline on how to handle sensitive topics bound to arise due to the pandemic. That should include handling tension when working as a team, schedule changes, and other sensitive topics (e.g., job security). 

Equip Employees

A remote workplace needs technology to keep things together and people up to the task. So, make sure you have the right technology in place for each and every worker. That should include cameras and headsets for virtual communication. 

It would be good if you train people in your team who may not be as tech-oriented as the younger employees. As with any technology, you can have a test run. One Zoom meeting where everyone is involved could be a good start. 

Have rules of engagement when doing online meetings. Make sure you provide guidance when online communications fall short. For instance, when emails fail, you may have to call for a virtual meeting to provide closure. 

As questions are bound to come up regarding payments, make sure you have the right technology to handle recurrent monthly salaries for your employees. A good way for you to save money and forward regular compensation is via ACH payments or money transfers. Not only is it largely secure and can be done online but also it’s incredibly cheap compared to other payment methods. 

Promote Dialogue

It rsquo;s important that you don’t just dictate protocols and administrative changes. When you engage in a two-way dialogue involving employees and managers, communication becomes a tool to help implement possible change. Research shows that when employees are involved and are informed of changes and their implications, they are more cooperative with these changes. 

Two-way communication is vital as it allows employees to express their sentiments and fears with regard to upcoming changes. By listening to employee concerns, management can better understand the repercussions of these changes, and adjust accordingly. 

Focus on Output and not on the Process

The remote workplace is so unlike the office setup. For one, there’s family. And unlike your regular office, taking care of family is the #1 priority at home. While workers may have to find a way to be productive, they will need your understanding along the way. 

It’s important, therefore, that you bring about a remote work environment that allows them to be productive given their challenges. That could mean not putting so much importance on daily morning meetings. Instead, schedule a mutually acceptable time. Explore online tools to get the job done faster with less hassle. 

Increase Recognition

A great recognition process not only boosts the morale of the employee being recognized but of everyone. It serves as a beacon to get employees to produce even more. And recognition needs not be financial. You can employ training opportunities or tokens of appreciation. 

What rsquo;s important is you see great work when it happens. When you recognize it, that should fire up your organization, and ultimately skyrocket your bottom line.

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