Remote work has brought many wonderful benefits to employers and employees alike. Increased happiness, productivity, and overall cost-effectiveness of hybrid workplaces seem to be the upsides the majority agrees upon.
However, working from home is still a relatively new landscape for many people, and some still struggle to adapt. The lines between personal and professional life blur, with working hours melting into leisure and rest time. Burnout creeps in, and your gold-star employees are suddenly less productive, and the quality of their work slowly declines.
There’s a number of people that relied on the good ol’ 9 to 5 for everyday routine, and now that it's disrupted, they can’t put themselves together.
Before bad feelings take over, some empathy is in order — helping sluggish staff get back on track is what great leaders do!
Reach out to your employees and offer them support, along with these self-management tips. The advice provided here can also help you improve your personal life. It can be applied to every aspect of life where you seem to be stuck: from saving money to better nutrition and elevating skills and hobbies.
But for the purpose of this blog, let’s talk business and see how to improve self-management for remote work. 🚀
Set Clear Expectations and Goals to Guide Them
If you’re wandering around without a map and a final destination in mind, it’s no surprise your legs are starting to hurt. Sure, “not all those who wander are lost,” but your employees sure are — and that might have a negative impact on their motivation.
Goals point to a direction, help shape everyday actions, and give people purpose and motivation. Using the OKR method proved to be an effective way of doing so, with loads of giants such as Google and Netflix swearing by it.
What is OKR Method?
OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results” — managers and leaders use this method to set tangible goals and milestones for themselves. Simply put: it’s what you want to accomplish (Objective) and what you need to do to achieve that specific objective (Key Results).
Setting small goals that lead to big results would look something like this in, let’s say, your sales department:
O = Increase the number of enterprise clients by at least 6 during Q3 and Q4
KR3.1 = Come up with 30 new qualified leads in Q3
KR3.2 = Schedule a demo with at least 20 leads
KR3.3 = Seal the deals with at least 4 leads
KR3.4 = Maintain a good relationship with the unsigned leads
KR4.1 = Come up with 20 additional qualified leads in Q4
KR4.2 = Schedule a demo with at least 10 leads
KR4.3 = Reconnect with unsigned leads from Q3 and try again
KR4.4 = Seal the deal with at least 2 new leads
The OKR method was created by Intel’s Andy Grove. He was inspired by Peter Drucker’s “Management by Objectives” and became Time’s Man of the Year in 1997.
Show Them How to Use Employee Activity Tracker
Some days are just like that — you make your coffee, settle down to start working, and occasionally flip through your phone; before you know it, the workday is over, and you haven’t managed to get anything done! Almost as if there were not enough hours in a day!
Pro tip: install user activity monitoring software, and you’ll learn how your time flew by so fast and how to use it far better.
Using a work tracker is beneficial to your workforce in many ways. It increases productivity and encourages mindful work and concentration.
Additionally, screen monitoring software for laptops/computers reveals valuable real-time data about your workforce:
- When they’re the most active and when they need to take a break
- What projects they’re currently working on
- Their daily activities and work-related habits
- The websites and apps they use
- Whether they are buried under too much work or have plenty of time to put to good use
With this information in hand, you’ll instantly see the blockers and be able to address them as they appear. This prevents the need for special productivity assessments, training sessions, or other resource drainers.
This is how to track your employees properly:
- Be transparent about it — Let them know in advance that their work is going to be supervised by screen monitoring software and what exactly that means.
- Let them retain their privacy — Never track more than necessary for business purposes. For example, screenshots can be blurred just enough to capture what they’re doing but hides personal information and text. Never track during work breaks and hours off, and disable stealth tracking for personal computers.
- Share the information with them — Circling back to the beginning of this chapter: let them learn about themselves by investigating how they’re spending their time.
Help Them Build Healthy Habits for Professional and Personal Life
If you haven’t given up on the New Year’s resolutions already, there’s a good chance one of two of these were forgotten by March. 👀
This repeats year after year, Monday after Monday, all because of one simple mistake: failing to gradually build good habits which will stick with you for years to come.
Whether it’s better nutrition, reading more, or stopping procrastination — the goals we’re chasing continuously slip away because we’re taking the wrong journey. Instead of jumping at it all at once, show your staff how to improve themselves by taking a different approach.
Adjust the Surroundings. Start Small. Stack the Habits. Do It Each Day.
Tiny changes bring big results — this is the philosophy behind James Clear’s “Atomic Habits”.
In this book, Clear proves time after time that amazing feats are achieved by taking a small step in the right direction and doing it every day.
Here are the four steps which will help your employees become better professionally and in their private life:
- Adjusting the surroundings — Create an environment where it is easy to do the right thing. If the phone distracts you, take it to the other room, or even floor, out of sight. If there’s too much banter around you, relocate to somewhere quiet. Dislike meetings and always put them off until the very last minute? Schedule them first thing in the morning, so there’s no wiggle room you could use to postpone it again.
- Starting with smaller tasks — If you start with a task so grueling you don’t have enough energy to recover until the next day, it’s not going to stick, and you’ll give up. Pick a task that requires noticeable effort but not too much that you can’t do it every day. Duolingo uses that principle to teach languages with lessons as short as 4 minutes.
- Habit stacking — This is an excellent way to double on healthy habits and build beneficial routines. For example, if you travel to work by bus, you can use that time to read and program yourself to always have something useful to do while traveling. If you want to read more but never have time and energy, a small trick like this will help you read about four more books per year.
- Rinse and repeat — If it’s easy enough to do, without obstacles, and a part of your daily routine you don’t even think about before performing, your new habit has a great chance of sticking with you!
Everyone gets stuck in a rut from time to time; instead of reprimanding your employees right away, first, try to help them with some organizational advice:
- Provide clear expectations and goals early on, and show them how their professional growth aligns with these objectives.
- Use the OKR method and break down ambitious goals into less frightening tasks which look more manageable.
- Use computer activity monitoring software and share their data with them so that they can learn about their downtimes, most productive hours, and what they can improve.
- Show them how to build healthy habits that will help them improve their work-life balance and stay consistent no matter the circumstances.