In our last article, we talked about the practices that organisations can adopt to experience a smoother transition to remote working. As remote working has a completely different culture from working in a traditional office setting, it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the challenges of remote working and the one thing that managers and leaders can do to overcome them.
In an annual report done by Buffer, it was found that remote workers faced two key challenges:
Technology has streamlined many work processes and has made communications faster. However, when a vast majority of employees are working remotely, the only proper means of communication will be over emails and text messages. This leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation because the tone does not translate well. Furthermore, studies have shown that remote workers often perceive their managers not being perceptive enough to their needs and that managers think that their remote workers are not as productive. These events are caused by a lack of proper and robust communication channels.
When employees transition to remote working, some may find that it is harder to locate all the resources and information they need to function effectively in their job role. This results in employees having differing levels of information. Compounded by poor communication, this will greatly impact collaboration. Employees are not aware that there is missing information and they may not even know who to approach to get the necessary resources. As a consequence, collaborative projects may not be as successful.
He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted. - Lao Tzu
These two challenges have one thing in common: a lack of trust. Managers do not trust their employees to deliver on their expectations and employees do not trust their managers to understand their viewpoints. Living in times of such a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is absolutely essential that there is complete trust between managers and employees. This situation is a learning period for everyone and having mutual trust in each other will empower employees and managers to find creative solutions to make the best of the current situation.
With that being said, here are 3 essential tips to build trust with employees:
1. Have constant sharing sessions with employees
Schedule time every day to check in with employees and get their feedback about the new systems and workloads. Make sure that it is a safe space for employees to share their unbiased feelings without getting penalised. Doing this will signal to the employees that the organisation supports them and will do their best to help them.
2. Move away from a culture of a blame game
In such times of crisis, it should be understood that mistakes will happen as employees go through an adjustment period. Rather than finding who to blame, managers should try to see each mistake as a learning opportunity and help their employees cover gaps in their knowledge. This will also help to create a learning culture in the organisation and even a chance to update old systems and mechanisms.
3. Managers as role models
Research has shown that employees are likely to follow the example set by their managers. As a result, managers should role model appropriate behaviours that they would like their employees to follow. This can include owning up to mistakes and acknowledging employees when they have done good work. When the leader sets a good example, employees are bound to follow.
You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible. - Anton Checkov