The complete transition to remote work in our organization is a big decision. Before we undertake it, we must answer one question: are our employees ready for it and do they have the predispositions and competences that will enable them to do such work? Not everyone is aware of the fact that although remote work is now a top trend – is not a solution for everyone. Many people will feel better and work more efficiently from the office, which is no wonder. Therefore, before such a change, we should carefully examine our employees and estimate the probability of the effectiveness of implementing remote work in our organization. Assessment of predisposition to remote work is extremely important because it will allow you to react in advance to potential problems.
Assessment of predisposition to remote work
People who find well working at home, most often have features that support their work in out-of-office conditions. Employers are also realizing this more and more often. According to data from the Talent Place report “Remote work. Privilege or the coming standard?” employers, when listing the predispositions that a remote employee must have, most often mention independence, focus on achieving goals, accuracy and punctuality. If we want to choose the most important competences, the first of them will be the knowledge of remote work tools and the ability to work in a team. Interestingly, in organizations were working from home is common and most people work in this way – it is the teamwork skill that is considered the most important, and the knowledge of tools falls into the background. It can be concluded that when hiring remote employees, companies should pay particular attention to the soft skills of candidates. After all, the lack of knowledge of the tools that the employee will use can be solved with appropriate training, while things such as teamwork skills or independence are features that are difficult to change.
But what if we do not have the comfort of building a remote team from scratch, and we face the challenge of transforming a stationary team into a remote one? Of course – the solution will not be to completely rebuild the team and hire new people who will be perfect in terms of the abovementioned predispositions. We need to get to know our employees as well as possible and thus find out who will quickly adapt to the new reality and who will need more support. We can do this by asking employees and their managers similar questions to those we would ask in the recruitment process.
What aspects are worth paying attention to?
Remote employees work most of the day without the direct supervision of their manager, they must undoubtedly be characterized by high responsibility. In this mode, it’s hard to work with someone we do not trust and are afraid to entrust him with a responsible task. Therefore, you should ask yourself these questions: Does the employee feel responsible for the work performed? Will we be able to trust employees when they work outside the office? How will he deal with a problematic situation when he will not be able to get help from his supervisor?
The answers to these questions will help us determine the risks of sending such an employee to the home office. If it turns out that we do not trust a given person, then in this case consider what is the source of these beliefs. Has the employee failed to achieve a goal? Has it ever happened that he spoke untruthfully? Or maybe this feeling results from the manager’s reluctance towards the person? If we manage to identify the problem, we will know what to pay attention to when switching to remote work and in what situations we should be vigilant.
Communication at work is important, but communication when working remotely is even more important. Remote employees must be aware that communication will not happen by accident, e.g. in a company kitchen, and that responsiveness and care for the quality of the information provided are extremely important. Of course, there are people who naturally formulate clearer messages. However, not everyone is good at it and sometimes such people need help. Therefore, at the beginning, let’s think: Is our employee able to communicate clearly by e-mail, telephone, at meetings? Does he reply to messages quickly? Will it be able to obtain the necessary information remotely? If we have worked with the person for even a short period of time, we should be able to answer these questions. This will allow us to determine if the person has the resources to communicate efficiently when working outside the office. However, if, after the analysis, we find that our employee has not been a master in communicating information clearly – this is the right time to react and provide him with training in this topic.
From the person we hired for a remote position, we would certainly require a lot of independence and self-organization skills. It should be no different in the case of employees who already work with us, and we want them to work remotely. Therefore, let’s think: is our employee able to work on a project basis and be accountable for tasks? Can he plan his work and manage his time independently? If we feel that the answers to these questions are not fully affirmative, it is a sign that we need to provide the employee with much more support when starting remote work. This is valuable information, especially for managers who should take particular care that the employee develops their independence by entrusting them with tailored tasks. By organizing work properly, the employee will develop good habits and believe in himself.
In a remote organization, the fact that most of the time we work alone makes it much easier to lose the sense of teamwork. Since we do not see our team every day, sometimes it is much more difficult to work in a team and some people may be attracted to working solely for their own account. That is why we need people in the company who can work in a team, and we must regularly reinforce such behavior. It will be important for us how the employee will fit in the remote team? Will he be able to establish relationships with co-workers even though he does not see them on a daily basis? Will he feel responsible for working together and not just for his own goals? By answering these questions, we will be able to prevent potential problems that may arise from employees’ poor ability to work remotely in advance. To reduce the risk, we should remember to set specific rules of cooperation in the team from the very beginning and about strengthening positive team behavior. The role of managers will be important here, who should particularly emphasize the importance of teamwork and the pursuit of a common goal.
Discipline and motivation
It cannot be denied that it is easier to mobilize yourself to work in an office where we see people working around us than at home, which so far has been associated mainly with relaxation after work. Therefore, we must make sure that our employees are able to motivate themselves to work? And will they be able to maintain high efficiency without the control and motivation resulting from being in the office? We need to realize that our employees are likely to divide into at least two different teams. Some people certainly value working alone and not distracted by reality in Open Space. Such people should benefit from remote work and their effectiveness is not likely to be compromised. On the other hand, adapting to a new reality can be a difficult task, because they draw their energy for work from contact with other people. Such people can quickly lose motivation and it will be more difficult for them to mobilize themselves to work intensively. Therefore, plan activities in advance that will minimize the lack of daily interactions in the office. Employees feeling lonely as a result of isolation will more often need remote meetings with the team and manager to stay motivated. Let us also allow and encourage them to implement their own initiatives aimed at integrating the team.
Reacting to feedback
Feedback is important in every job, but in remote work it plays a key role, mainly because we do not have ongoing control over employees. Therefore, we have to trust that once provided feedback will be adopted and implemented quickly. So let’s consider how an employee reacts to feedback? Can he accept written feedback? Can he quickly and independently implement into his work? People who are open to feedback and quickly implement it, are much more effective remote workers and develop faster . However, if your team has a problem with receiving feedback, you should check whether it is due to the personality and resistance of the employee. You may just find that the feedback is not being delivered properly! In such a situation, it is worth providing managers with training on how to work with feedback in a remote team and how to control whether the suggestions have been implemented.
Evaluation of employee effectiveness in remote work – summary
Remote work certainly requires different competences and predispositions than working in an office. This does not mean, however, that people who have worked in the office so far will not be able to switch to full or partial work from home. However, we must meet a few conditions so that neither the employees nor the company suffer from such a change and focus primarily on educating employees and managers in the field of remote work . Knowing about potential problems and how to deal with them will support your teams in this change from the outset. The evaluation of the employee’s effectiveness during remote work will allow you to determine in time whether there are any irregularities in your company.