Five practical tips to help remote under-performers refine their game.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a shift in everyone’s lives from employees to employers. A majority of employers are driven by the notion that their employees will return to their workplaces post-pandemic, but the bitter truth is working from home is not going to fade away. If we stick to the facts and figures of WFH employees pre-, during-, and post-pandemic, the number is only likely to rise after the impact of COVID-19 diminishes. Managing a remote team is a tough job. Whether your teammates are working remotely, working from a local office, or half a world away, there is no room for underperformance in a remote environment.

Let’s be a little productive and learn a few simple yet superbly useful tips to help remote under-performers refine their game.

Reevaluate your expectations

The first step to take a shot at reevaluating what is desired of an employee and why you feel you are not getting the desired output. You need to understand the problem area. If underperformance is somehow related to you in any context, vague directives, unclear communication, and ambiguous statements could be several reasons. Besides that, you need to figure out if your dissatisfaction is with their work style or delivery style. Under such scenarios, underperformance can be dealt with by abdication over expectations and fair assessment of employees’ key strengths and abilities for contribution to the team’s work.

On the other hand, if underperformance is related to different reasons, such as insufficient experience, absence of specific skill sets, or lack of insight, arrange specific training or associate them with a more experienced & skillful partner. The achievement of such ideas may appear challenging in a remote environment, but it is worth a shot. It may become super risky to wait until you are back in the regular office setting to provide the assistance they need.

Dig deeper and learn about them

Despite your long-term association, the outlook and preferences continue to evolve. It is essential to ask about their goals and career perspectives quarterly, at least. Accordingly, modify your management approach based on the views and needs.
Try and learn about their remote work style, whether they prefer flexibility or strict deadline, often-uninterrupted methods of WFH. And for this, you may have to take account of home responsibilities, such as taking care of the elderly, schooling time, or others.

Help them understand the significance of the improved performance.

Questioning them to encourage self-diagnose is of utmost importance, as it helps them build insight into future career perspectives. First, a few common questions could be why and how do you think this work experience will fit you in the long run OR why do you think we are doing this and more. Always refrain from micromanaging your teammates. It only creates unproductivity and chaos.

Be in Contact

It is a manager’s responsibility to maintain regular contact in a remote setting and keep everyone in the loop. The assumption, no news is good news does no good. So practice a habit of daily stand-ups or end-of-day meetings to discuss work progress. If not getting a good read on your teammates’ is your concern, plan a weekly telephonic interaction, and listen carefully. This interaction could work as an intervention.

The management of team members working remotely is a challenge for a manager, and it becomes genuinely cumbersome if there is an underperformance quotient.
These tips will not only help in the refinement of their work game but also strengthen manager- teammate bond.