How to Track Remote Teams Without Micromanaging

With more options and greater freedom also comes greater responsibility. Whenever we have new and tempting paths open up to us, we are always too eager to give them a shot without truly understanding their implications. This is reflected in the ever-increasing digital workplace and marketplace in our modern day landscape. Before, if someone were to go to work, that would mean they would dress up, take their car or public transit to get to an office space where they sat down behind a mountain of paperwork. Later, the mountains of paperwork and letters were replaced by mountains of e-mails and files. Now however, the whole concept of leaving the home is also being thrown out the window.

Studies on remote work have discovered that: 1) 16% of global companies are 100% remote and hire exclusively remote workers in a study by Owl Labs, 2) 52% of workers work from home at least once every week in a study also conducted by Owl Labs and 3) 69% of millennials would give up other work benefits in exchange for a more flexible working space in a study published by the CBRE. More examples could be given but in short, the message is clear. The times are changing and remote employment will not become an alternative but the norm in the near future.

Since remote employment and not having the whole team within reach at any time during the workday physically, employers need to make some adjustments in order to feel secure. After all, at the end of the day, the goal is still the same. Bringing in talent, creating good quality products or offering high quality service and having a robust clientele.

Ways to Maintain Team Integrity

  1. Transparency Is Key: If you aren’t able to build trust with your employees and your employees with you, then the entire system falls apart. This would be the case with any business model but especially with this one.  Just because your team is located on the other side of the ocean doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know them personally. Even though you may not see them face-to-face, knowing their preferences, habits and quirks is key to maintaining relationships.
  1. Setting Clear Expectations: You need to be concise. Try to have as little as ambiguity as possible when you assign work since the distance between you and the employee makes a miscommunication all the more potentially dangerous. As a leader, being upfront about what you want, where you want it and how you want it is always crucial but even more so in this environment.
  1. Allow for Collaborative Work: This may not seem like the most intuitive idea since you want to assess the productivity and reliability of each individual on your team but it’s something vital, nonetheless. Having employees collaborate more often creates more interdependency. If one feels like the other is slacking off and they need to compensate, they’ll eventually tell you if it goes on for long enough. When everyone can feel like they have each other’s backs on a team, those are the ones that are the most successful.
  1. Holding Regular Meetings: Since you can’t simply wade over to the employee’s desk, you’ll need to invest a bit of your time into setting up weekly/bi-weekly meetings with your employees. This will make it clear to your employees that just because they are working from home, it doesn’t mean that you don’t expect high-quality and timely results in your inbox. Schedule weekly Zoom/Google Meets staff meetings or simply have your employees work on Google Drive and have their files shared with you. When you know exactly what’s going on in your business, you’ll be able to manage whatever situation you find yourself in far better.

Should I Be Using a Tracking Tool?

Tracking tools are a recent and available option to be absolutely certain that all of your employees are on task and not wasting time. These tools are highly sophisticated and involve things like scanning for opened applications, number of clicks and characters typed in (i.e. executables) and provide you with regular snapshots of your employee’s full resolution computer screen.

The beauty of these applications are that they run in the background which means that they don’t require to be sitting down staring at your employees like a security guard at a mall but instead go through the data every day at the end of the work day for a quick 10-15 minutes in order to get a general view of your team’s performance. In terms of privacy concerns on behalf of employees, don’t worry, users are notified when a screenshot of their screen is sent to the employer. Employees can also choose when to have the application on or not. Therefore, when they are taking a midday break or they’re off work, they can have peace of mind that they are not being watched over by the Eye of Sauron.

Are There Any Other Alternatives?

Tracking tools aren’t generally the most popular amongst staff and should be somewhat of a last resort. If you believe that your employees would do better working in an office space rather than at home but it’s physically impossible for them to come into the office headquarters because they are, for instance, at the other side of the world, you can set up satellite offices. Satellite offices are mini-sized affordable office spaces created for small groups. These offices offer all the benefits of an office while being far more affordable.

Conclusion

Change isn’t usually something people look forward to. However, if you look at it in a different light, it may become your best friend. We will always need to adapt to new and innovative strategies in order to stay competitive. These include remote employment leading to tracking tools and/or satellite offices. Regardless of which tips you listen to or methods you choose to adhere to, the end goal will always be the same. If you want to learn more about what you can do, visit https://www.agileoffices.ca/ today!

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