The Need to Manage Remote Workers Effectively Is Not New
Before COVID-19, 30 percent of people were working remotely full time, and 18 percent of people report working remotely one to three days a week.
The rise of working remotely has been occurring over the last decade. With our constant connection through our phones and the internet, more and more industries are adapting to meet the needs of working remotely.
The good news is adapting to a remote work environment is easier than you think. Remote workers tend to be more productive and the increased flexibility can be used in a positive way. The key is having systems in place to manage remote workers and ensure regular tasks are completed efficiently while away from the office. The right cloud-based platform is the biggest step in preparing your company for a remote work atmosphere.
In the HOA Industry, Some Jobs Already Require Working Off-Site or Remotely
So, you may already be further along in making your adjustments than you know. Below are six steps to prepare your HOA for remote operation and maximize productivity:
- Utilize video conferencing – This is the first process HOAs should adapt to when confronted with a situation requiring working out of the office. Chances are most companies already have a video conferencing system in place. But for those that don’t, it can be the most challenging part to adapt to. When working remotely there is more opportunity for disconnect and lost communication, that is where video conferences can come in and help bridge the gap. The ability to get together with your board during a crisis and see everyone, even if you aren’t in the same room, is a great way to keep communication open and responses timely. Some companies that offer online meetings and video conferencing services are Gotomeeting, Zoom, Join.me and Webex. Be sure after you’ve picked your video conferencing software that you practice using it before the first meeting. This will help work out any issues or kinks that waste time on the first meeting.
- Communicate daily – Maintain regular contact with remote workers to get a report on their tasks, build trust, and answer questions. Periodic communications allow you to manage remote workers’ challenges, motivate them, and keep everything moving forward. This can be as simple as a morning check-in, group chat, or video conference like discussed before. It’s important to try to keep everyone as in-the-loop as possible. This will help prevent the feeling of being on your own with no support.
- Allow for flexibility – Just as important as checking in, is letting your workers have their space to perform. Everyone’s situation is different. Some people are more productive earlier, others have to get their kids ready and take care of other chores in the morning before work. When working remote a standard 9-5 isn’t always the answer. It’s important to work out with your team beforehand what their expected hours will be. Being flexible with your workers time can help keep productivity flowing and moral high.
- Create goals with rewards – Consider developing incentivized goals that will motivate your team to complete their jobs. It’s easy to lose motivation when you’re away from your team and feel your work goes unnoticed. A common misconception is that money is the best reward when in actuality public recognition or even a gift card goes a lot further for team members. Be sure to incentivize your workers to keep them performing at a high level, it can go a long way.
- Offer cloud-based management tools – It can be nearly impossible to keep good work flowing without a strong cloud-based platform. This is where you can store shared information, documents, payments, etc. When working remotely you must make sure you have systems in place to ease the shift from in office work to out of office work. Without them your team could struggle to complete their tasks in a timely fashion, or struggle to complete them at all. A good cloud-based system with keep the workflow consistent and continue to make the transition to working remote easier on you and your staff.
- Encourage work-life balance – It’s often difficult for remote workers to unplug and step away from their work. Encourage the workers to log off and enjoy their lives after their jobs have been completed for the day to prevent burnout and exhaustion. Encourage your team members to push away from the computer, to take breaks periodically to keep them fresh. Like at the office, encourage taking a one-hour lunch at the normal time. Encourage those 15-minute coffee breaks. Encourage relieving stress with a quick break to play with their kids or pets. When working from home, it’s easy for work to take over since you’re always near your computer. Getting out of that headspace throughout the day is key to maintaining a healthy relationship between work and family.
While the prospect of moving to a fully remote workforce may be daunting, and crises like the COVID-19 pandemic can never be fully planned for, choosing to utilize a web-based application, like TOPS [ONE] allows your company to maintain the status quo. The shift to online is already in gear in the property management industry. Staying up to date on this trend can lead to increased productivity, worker moral, worker efficiency, and better profits.
When your team has to work remotely due to natural disasters or situations like COVID-19 that call for social distancing, you have to consider the impact on your HOA members. You can’t let your workers being “out of sight” make HOA members feel like they are “out of mind.” During times of crisis your services are more essential than ever!
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