Many employers are nowadays open to teleworking.
Although flexibility at work and the possibility of teleworking are two of the main sources of job satisfaction for Belgian employees, few others are in the habit of practising it every day of the week.
Organisations must therefore ensure that their management line is well prepared to ensure successful remote management that stimulates productivity and employee motivation.
Managing telework on a day-to-day basis requires you to focus on results, not primarily on the behaviour of your employees. Instead of solely assessing performance according to what an employee is seen to be doing, managers should take their output or other deliverables into account and establish an environment of mutual trust.
Flexible working can create communication challenges, as employees may feel less connection with each other. This can lead to a lower sense of belonging. Apart from specifying a set time of the week when the team can get together, we also advise managers to use alternative tools such as instant messaging and virtual meetings to foster communication.
It is vitally important that with the growth of a virtual workforce comes the need to maintain to make time to get in those online face-to-face catch ups. If managers do not take the time to carry out face-to-face online catch ups the silence can become very loud and dangerous with remote employees second guessing their performance. Take the time to schedule in video catch ups to reassure and guide your workforce to ensure maximum productivity.
Companies should also create a culture where employees do not feel they will be disadvantaged by flexible working arrangements. Some new joiners may struggle to learn if their manager or team members are not around. Managers are strongly recommended discussing flexible working arrangements openly with all team members to ensure that everyone is treated equally.
With the use of mobile devices, the line between work and private life is blurring. Managers are advised to conduct reviews to ensure remote working employees are not working excessively as this can lead to high stress level and ‘burn-out’. Signs to look out for are a reduction in productivity/output, uncharacteristic detachment and increased cynicism or complaining.
A complete change in the way of working, and no longer seeing colleagues on a daily basis, can have an impact on team motivation. Managers must therefore ensure everyone feels that their work still matters, for example by regularly sharing their results with the rest of the team and highlighting their work via a group platform. Without a framework and daily follow-up, employees can feel demotivated and lost: it is recommended that managers set up a weekly follow-up to define the objectives to be achieved. Doing so, teams can work together towards a common goal, and thus regain meaning in their work even when they are isolated.
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