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A few years ago, the ability to work remotely at least 1-2 times a week was a strong argument for a candidate in favor of a company. But 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have made their own adjustments, and now remote work is not a “perk” but a reality.

Google conducted a study that showed that programmers’ productivity dropped by 20-45% due to remote work. The main reasons for the decline in efficiency include a lack of communication between colleagues, a lack of regular feedback, and a sense of detachment among employees.

In this article, we share tips on how to identify an inefficient employee before a “disaster” occurs and tips for improving efficiency in remote work.

Keep your eyes open: How to spot an ineffective employee

Ineffective employees are a big blow to a business. They waste time and don’t give even 50% of their best. In addition, their inefficiency and constant dissatisfaction can infect other employees, decreasing overall performance. Back in 2016, the Harvard Business Review found that employee inefficiency can cost a company $8,000 a day.

And while it was easier to notice the decline in employee efficiency in the office and take action, it’s harder to do so while working remotely. An HR manager simply doesn’t have enough time to find out how each employee is doing in Zoom or Messenger and notice the moment of burnout.

Here’s a list of signs of ineffective employees that HR or a manager can use to quickly identify them in the company.

“I’ll be late” or constant absences

This sign is very easy to spot. In such cases, employees are constantly asking for time off for “business”, being late for work, and taking one or two days of sick leave and a day off. They have more important things to do than work all the time. Their transport breaks down, their relatives get sick, their neighbors often flood them, and they don’t have enough time to complete tasks.

“I’ll do it tomorrow” or low productivity

Employees who have lost their motivation do anything but work tasks. And when they do get to work, they do it poorly. As a result, the task has to be redone and, in most cases, by someone else.

“I didn’t have time” or missed deadlines

It’s simple. Ineffective employees constantly miss deadlines and fail to complete tasks on time. This is due to both low motivation, engagement, and a general unwillingness to do anything.

“I don’t need your advice” or lack of response to constructive criticism

Such employees do not accept feedback on their work, do not listen to advice, and, accordingly, do not take any measures to improve performance.

It is clear that these are only a small part of the first signs, but even if you pay attention to them in time, there is a chance to improve the employee’s performance and not lose him or her.

Tips and tricks on how to make your remote workers more productive

These tips and tricks will help you increase the efficiency of your remote workers.

Stimulate them to travel

Increasing travel amongst remotely employed employees can be a key element in improving their performance and job satisfaction. Traveling not only provides an opportunity for relaxation but also helps to develop and establish communication between colleagues. For example, using a service like Bookatrekking.com to find hiking tours can incentivize work groups to go on exciting trips together, which raises the team’s overall energy level and creativity.

Undoubtedly, joint outdoor adventures help to strengthen team spirit and mutual understanding, which in turn has a positive impact on working relationships and project performance. Such initiatives can be a great tool for maintaining and developing a positive corporate environment, especially in a remote work environment where it is important to keep in touch with colleagues and stimulate their creativity.

Regular feedback

The main problem with remote work is that employees do not always receive feedback from their managers. As a result, they don’t understand how they are doing and what they need to improve. According to SnackNation, regular feedback increases employee productivity by 50% and, accordingly, business performance by 20%.

Provide employees with feedback, praise them, or point out their mistakes, but help them correct them. This will help employees feel valued, understand their weak and strong areas, and work to eliminate problematic issues.

Employee engagement and mood

These factors are closely related. If an employee is always in a bad mood, it’s important to understand what’s going on. Perhaps they have problems at home/family, or perhaps something is bothering them at work: a boring project, uninteresting tasks, a toxic colleague, etc.

When working remotely, it’s harder to do this because HR can’t personally write to each employee and find out how they’re doing. Moreover, not all employees are ready to share their problems.

To determine your employees’ engagement level, you can conduct the Gallup Q12 survey. It will help you determine your employees’ overall and individual engagement, as well as show areas for improvement. For example, if many employees answer that they have not received praise or feedback, then you need to conduct more regular Performance Reviews and 1:1 meetings.

1:1 meetings

When working from home, 1:1 meetings have become even more popular, as they allow HR to understand whether an employee is doing well. The issues discussed during a 1:1 impact both personal relationships and the entire company’s productivity.

During a 1:1 meeting, discuss how the specialist is doing on the project, whether he or she likes the tasks, and whether he or she is comfortable working in a team. It’s a good idea to ask how the employee is doing at home, whether their family is doing well, and whether they have enough time to relax.

It’s important to create a relaxed atmosphere where people can discuss their problems to get honest answers to questions.

Timekeeping

You shouldn’t let things take their course, as people can become very relaxed. Various task managers, time trackers, and regular Zoom calls will help managers understand how well their employees are working and where they spend their time.

Support employees and thank them for their work

Praise and support are among the strongest motivators. Expressing gratitude to employees increases their engagement and reduces the likelihood of absenteeism. 64% of employees who recently quit their jobs said they left because of a lack of gratitude from their bosses.

Set aside time to recognize and praise employees’ achievements. You can organize Zoom meetings or celebrate people’s successes in a general chat.

Set clear goals

If an employee does not understand why he or she is working at all, what it is for, and how it affects the company, he or she can quickly lose efficiency, even if he or she was involved before. That’s why it’s important to set clear goals for all employees that will give them an understanding of how they help the business.

The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) methodology helps to synchronize individual employee goals with the company’s goals. The main advantage of the methodology is transparency. That is, each employee sees the goals of his or her colleagues and managers and understands how his or her work affects the overall progress.

Automation is a secret weapon in the fight against inefficiency

Operations take up a lot of HR professionals’ time, which is why they can’t fully immerse themselves in the company’s strategic objectives. This affects employee efficiency and, as a result, business profits.

Automation of routine tasks helps to solve this problem. There are many tools for automating HR and recruiting processes: chatbots, HRM systems, and task managers. But if task managers focus more on project management, HRM systems will help eliminate routine.

In such programs, you can keep statistics and a database of employees, manage absence management, such as vacations, sick leave, and days off, create surveys and events, and automatically send notifications to employees about them. Choosing a strategy that will help you effectively manage employee productivity is very important. Hold 1:1 meetings, provide feedback, thank and praise employees, automate routines, and you will be happy with work efficiency in your company.

Conclusion

Remote work will be with us for a long time. Therefore, HR professionals need to choose a strategy that will help to manage employee productivity effectively. Hold 1:1 meetings, provide feedback, thank and praise employees, automate routines, and you will be happy with your work efficiency.