Working remotely has many advantages for employees and management alike, and it is gradually becoming a widely accepted practice. And while active digitalization is simplifying the transition, there are still many factors to consider.
If you are thinking about transferring some of your company’s specialists to remote work, it is essential to understand this procedure’s intricacies. This way, you will be able to avoid the common mistakes most HR managers make when moving their teams to remote work. We have collected the top critical oversights of executives conducting this transition. Read on to learn more!
1. Not Familiarizing Yourself With the Environment
According to Toggl’s Head of People and Culture, Evelin Andrespok, one of the major management mistakes in remote work is not familiarizing oneself with its peculiarities.
As a Human Resources manager, you need to put yourself in your employees’ shoes and immerse yourself in their work environment. Try doing it as early as possible, even before the onboarding process begins. This practice will help you figure out how to find balance when working from home to set realistic requirements and provide your team with valuable tips.
2. Neglecting Proper Onboarding
The transition to remote work requires a revision of the approach that was in use during offline onboarding. Unfortunately, many HR managers get too caught up in their to-do lists during this process, while not focusing on guiding employees through the primary stages of the transition.
However, proper onboarding is crucial to building a solid basis for a smooth remote workflow. In fact, poor employee onboarding may lead to:
Employee confusion, stress, and dissatisfaction
Inability to identify problematic areas
Slowing down business development
Undermining the brand’s reputation
Waste of time and resources on unorganized tutorials
To avoid such unpleasant consequences, as a leader, you should invest enough time in creating clear instructions on the essential aspects of remote work, such as software, planning, and communication.
3. Lack of Communication
Your task as a manager is to make sure that no one feels disconnected and abandoned. When your team starts working remotely, most employees experience such feelings. However, due to physical distance, people may think that they are struggling alone.
Here is an example of what your remote team members may be going through: “Everyone is working productively and concentrates easily, but I always get distracted. I am showing poor performance.” Employees are often afraid to admit that it is challenging for them to work from home, thus driving themselves into an even more stressful situation.
The manager should strive to make it clear that everyone is in the same situation, and it is normal to experience such emotions. But how do you assist your employees during these challenging times?
Even if you have not done it before, call or FaceTime each member of the team regularly and ask how they are coping. This practice will allow you to understand whether a particular employee understands the tasks, has any difficulties with colleagues from other departments or needs emotional support. It is easier to spot issues working side-by-side in the office, but online conditions make them easy to miss.
4. Software Mess
The two pillars on which remote work stands are remote working tools and psychology. Dealing with the psychological aspect is possible by setting up effective communication with the team members, but what about the IT side?
The transition to remote work is a new experience for many company leaders. The natural reaction to it is to equip the team members with all possible software to cover all the work spheres. However, instead of boosting productivity, excessive software loads usually create a big mess and complicate the onboarding process.
To avoid confusion, ensure that your employees focus only on the essential software in the primary stages. Here is a list of the minimum necessary software.
Messengers, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, may work just fine for small teams, although their functionality is somewhat limited. Discord is another excellent option for small businesses. Although it was initially created for gamers, it is also a convenient chat for cooperation. However, if your team has more than ten people, consider using Slack or Microsoft Teams, as they can handle the role of a project management tool.
Software for Video Calls
There are plenty of programs suitable for video conferences nowadays. Zoom, Hangouts, Skype – whichever software you pick, ensure that all your employees install it.
You can agree with your teammates to make call arrangements via the chat and note them on the calendar. Remember to save the recordings of important calls.
A digital calendar is a must in most companies. However, while working remotely, you will rely on it even more. All meetings and deadlines should be marked there. Google Suite and Office 365 offer convenient options.
It is also an excellent practice to make your schedule visible to the employees so that they would know when to address their inquiries to you.
For security reasons and the sake of easy accessibility, team members should save work-related files in cloud storage, such as Google Drive. During a business video call, there is often a need to open a document and work on it together. Keeping all the valuable files in one place will save the whole team some time and effort.
Having an email address is a mandatory requirement for remote work, as it is a way to receive access to other software. Otherwise, the use of email is not compulsory.
These are the absolute essentials of working online. Other required software will depend on your business area and preferences. For instance, some workplaces require the use of a CRM system. In other cases, managers encourage their employees to use task trackers. For example, Trello is often used as an essential part of sharing the processes of teams collaborating.
The bottom line is not to overload the online working environment with excessive programs but rather to keep it simple and functional.
5. Not Providing Feedback
Even when working offline, employees require feedback on their projects. When it comes to remote work, having regular feedback sessions is twice as critical.
Besides, reviewing the work progress of your employees not only serves the purpose of assessment. It also allows you to discuss whether the workload fits the team member’s expectations and set realistic future goals.
When transitioning to remote work, some company leaders may be feeling like they are losing control. In some, it results in being over-controlling their co-workers. Knowing the status of tasks is crucial, but micromanagement is often annoying.
Try setting the deadlines and trusting your colleague. After all, your employees will contact you when the result is ready or need some advice and feedback.
7. Forgetting About Work-Life Balance
The period of transition can be extremely energy-consuming for both workers and those involved in Human Resource management. It is crucial to remember that you, like everyone else, found yourself in unfamiliar conditions. Besides, in this case, you are responsible not only for yourself but also for your entire team. Start with yourself. Then you will have the strength to support your team.
Although you do not need to go to the office when working online, choose to organize your workflow. For instance, do not work at night, even though it may seem convenient, as there are fewer distractions. If finishing up your work at night becomes a habit, you will experience a lack of sleep, and your efficiency will drop.
Undoubtedly, you have to respect the free time of your colleagues as well. Thus, even if you prefer to work late in the evening, leave all non-urgent messages for the next working day.
Remember that it is vital for the team and its management to work synchronously. Thus, the staff must be available during office hours. However, when your working day is done, remember to switch to some activity that will help you restore your energy.
How to Avoid Mistakes When Transitioning to Remote Work
Knowing what to avoid is only a part of a successful transition to remote working. But how do you make sure that you keep every aspect under control and support your team? The answer is simple: with the assistance of smart software, such as Lanteria HR.
Our HR management system focuses on every detail required for a smooth transition to remote work. It will be your reliable management tool in automating the essential processes of your job.
Lanteria HR will help you organize the onboarding, set up the workflow, track the employees’ performance and working hours, and foster communication among team members. You can set team goals, conduct training, share feedback, make announcements, host webinars, and more!
Want to know more about how it works? Check out our Remote Work page or contact us for a consultation.