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Are you a Productive Remote Employee?

A look at how remote employees are staying most productive during the unique year of 2020, and also what they share to be their current needs.

As a remote employee, it is important to keep a close pulse on one’s own feelings of engagement motivation, and self-fulfillment, which is the reason for today’s topic.  The days of fulfilling your need for social interaction and engagement with coworkers are gone and replaced with ensuring that you remain productive, resourceful, and accomplished in your daily duties while ensuring one’s own sense of professional engagement. While it is true, available resources have been provided in abundance, (video conference accounts, tech tools, and infrastructure access points), there remain some other holistic items that if not discussed, become the force that drives unhappiness in your employment situation.  While it is becoming taboo to speak of what you need in a time of national crisis, it still may be a good exercise to take stock of your well-being.  Which begs the question, are you happy with your remote working situation? is there anything else you need to be professionally fulfilled in this new normal?

Do you know what you need?

Many progressive companies have executed a remote survey to assess remote work, which includes questions around preferences of where one works, how comfortable they are, and a solicitation of general feedback.  What has been generally been revealed from these survey responses is that employees with limited at home distractions enjoy the new working conditions. In a few cases employees miss the opportunity to be in the office, away from home distractions. 

Many may notice that the video conference meetings which is a great resource to keep the lines of communication open, may have lost its spark as employees seem to resort to camera off, and low engagement. So the goal now is acknowledge new challenges, recognize them and fully commit to creating a continuous and effective environment for remote employees. While we look for our employees to rise above what we believe are small challenges, we want to recognize that their productivity and efficiency has a new set of protocols they may have not been analyzed as closely as they may need to be now.

So, looking closely into your remote working situation, what is it that you really need?  People miss the joy of problem solving with co-workers, ease of making decisions with the room full, and access to colleagues that teach and develop them.  They also are dealing with new stressors, and new workplace behaviors that they did not know existed from their home office. These conditions are referred to as people motivations which can lead to a decline in adaptability, quality, and creativity in the workplace.

How can we help?

It is my hope that you work in a progressive, caring organization, that understands all the factors that impact the bottom line.  If this is the case, you will see management acknowledge the continuous motivation cycle, and move towards, creating trust, opening communication more frequently and looking for opportunities to make rich connections with their work team.  Other suggestions may include:

  1. Creating a list of best practices for employees and sharing them with each employee frequently, this list could include ways to enjoy your remote work, staying happy while working at home, and enjoying your new normal.
  2. Setting clear expectations—knowing when you are required to weigh in and engage is the best way to build the habit, and not make it a chore.
  3. Setting Clear Expectation, which works both ways–establishing those regular check-ins using the various resources, is the best way to see and hear how employees are really doing.
  4. Foster a growth mindset—managers can motivate a remote workforce by focusing on both personal improvement and performance goals. This works best when it is brought up incrementally throughout the performance period.
  5. Create a visual scoreboard—having employees see the way goals are being achieved organizational is a great motivator, to understand their roles and how they play a part in the larger picture
  6. Manage Accomplishments not Activity—encourage remote employees to focus on their achievements is a better way to have them stay engaged in the contributions of their role.  Activities tend to just move things along a continuum and do not hold the employee’s motivation and feeling of self-worth.
  7. Get Personal—finally without breaching HR boundaries and coming off invasive, demonstrating an intentional interest in the employee’s personal well-being, translates into a sense of professional care and concern. This particular item has worked quite well in my own organization.

A Final Thought

Just because you are working from home or in an office building, you still require the same things to be successful. Strong relationships and a positive culture can be more difficult to foster at a distance, but both are still vital aspects of employing and retaining a talented and engaged team. Be cognizant that the changing landscape requires different mechanism, to engage, and stay concerned about the workforce. It is the hope that we can take these steps to avoid employee burn-out, it is a real phenomenon, but one that can be avoided when we perform continuous check-in and reinforce the concept of supporting ALL our workplace employees.

If you or your organization would like to find out more about executive leadership coaching, behavioral personality assessments, and mentoring, and how a mentoring program can help bridge the gaps experienced from missing employee engagement please reach out and connect with us at Coley & Associates. We are here to help move your organization forward, and we are passionate about what we do and committed to making a positive difference in our customers’ businesses and the world around us. 


By Janet Williams

As Director of Human Capital and Performance Consulting for Coley & Associates, Dr. Janet E. Williams provides Government clients and commercial companies insight on how to leverage resources and maximize services for improvements to company operations. She specializes in mentoring, progressive management process improvements, accountability and control, revenue enhancements, and other organizational change methods. For almost 20 years, Dr. Williams worked in government and head an Emerging Leaders Program for mentoring youth. Janet holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton University a MBA from Troy State University, and her doctorate in Public Policy and Leadership from Walden University.

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