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Business Remote Work

Pros and Cons of Offshore Outsourcing And How They Affect Your Business

Will offshore outsourcing work for your business model?

As businesses evolve with the dynamics of operations, offshore outsourcing becomes a reliable and profitable solution that organizations look into as one of their competitive strategies. While offshoring offers a strategic business approach, it still has shortcomings. Will the pros outweigh the cons? 

The Pros of Offshore Outsourcing

Outsourcing talents to a professional offshore service provider brings numerous benefits. You may want to look into offshore outsourcing if your organization needs: 

Cost-Effective Employment Solutions

Startups struggling to penetrate the market would often compromise when it comes to their employees. Outsourcing removes the burden of shouldering the costs of talent acquisition, onboarding, and managing their employees. As such, there is no need to spend on additional resources, tools, technologies, and infrastructure necessary to manage talents.

Offshore outsourcing can effectively slash your operational and maintenance costs by as much as 40-60%. How? Geographic differences equate to a massive salary gap. Suppose you need to hire a web developer. A U.S.-based dev will cost you an average of US$55,421 per year. Whereas hiring a Philippines-based senior-level web developer will require you to pay only US$23,719.44 annually. 

Access to Systematic and Proficient Pool of Talents

Once your company is working with an offshore service provider with established talent management strategies, you will get access to high-quality output, increased productivity, and a noticeable return on investment. Offshore outsourcing means that a team with technical expertise in handling verticals can assure conversions, thereby improving your bottom line. 

Fast Turnaround Times

When you are pressed for time and need competent and reliable talent, the hiring process can disrupt operations. Most offshore outsourcing companies have fast turnaround times in their recruitment process that helps companies, particularly startups, expand their team while continuing normal operations. Take the case of Mosh, an online clinic based in Australia. The company needed to expand its team to cater to a growing customer base. Unfortunately, they did not have the time to spend on talent recruitment and onboarding. 

MultiplyMii addressed this pain point by providing a bespoke onboarding process, which improved process flow and enhanced the quality of Mosh’s customer support capabilities. 

Increased Reliability 

Offshore outsourcing solutions like MultiplyMii are committed to providing their clients with reliable results. By employing a full-time employee who can work as a valuable part of the company, it is easy to see results that matter. While a company can go for a freelancer, there is always the question of reliability when it comes to their deliverables. Clients would often be left wanting, and this can hurt productivity badly. Full Time employees, albeit working remotely, can have a fixed schedule to allow everyone in the team to communicate effectively.

The Cons of Offshore Outsourcing

Language and Cultural Barriers

Organizations often have to deal with language barriers and cultural differences, which can impact business operations. It is a hurdle that most startups have to deal with. However, these issues can be quickly resolved when your offshore outsourcing provider recruits staff from a country like the Philippines, where many individuals can speak and understand English. Since the country was a former American territory, cultural differences are very minor and often unnoticeable.

Full Timezone Coverage

When you outsource your employees from a different country, this may mean that you have to deal with different timezones. In the Philippines, however, the prevalence of business process outsourcing companies allowed employees to work on a graveyard shift, allowing them to work with your timezone. If needed, multiple shifts can cover different timezones.

Security Issues

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that businesses face when they outsource is security. Despite the presence of various Data Protection Act, security breach and data integrity remain an issue, mainly heightened in the absence of close collaboration with employees. That’s why this is where global communication comes in. Once you know how to communicate with your team, no matter where they are, it would be easier to address security issues. 

While offshore outsourcing has notable shortcomings, the benefits clearly outweigh them. There is always a workaround, mainly if you work with a reliable offshore employment service provider like MultiplyMii, which handles end-to-end HR outsourcing management from outsourcing to onboarding. Book a Demo with us and learn how we can help you run your business with more efficiency.

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Business Remote Work

The Most Important 10 Minutes of your Day – Tips for Remote Work

remote work

If you have an office-based business, chances are you’ve already been largely affected by the uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has brought to the world. Globally, this health crisis has forced more office-based businesses to shift to a remote work set-up. 

Communication, especially amidst a crisis, is crucial to keeping business operations running smoothly. But more than the business aspect, it helps maintain understanding and mutual trust between you and your employees.

If you’re one of the businesses affected and you’re unsure of how to better communicate with your team, you can definitely benefit from conducting daily huddle meetings online. You may never have done this before because casual face-to-face interaction seemed like an adequate alternative. Now that you don’t have this option, you need to formalize this practice to keep your team aligned. 

What is a Daily Huddle?

A daily huddle is a 10-minute power-meeting that provides an opportunity for each team member to share project updates and progress, roadblocks, and challenges, as well as little and big victories. 

In office-based environments, this is a stand-up or standing meeting wherein you set the plan for the day. In a remote work setup, you and your team will be meeting online via a video call or voice call. Video calls are known to deliver better interactions since you see each other face-to-face. 

If you want to keep the essence of a standing meeting while working from home, then, by all means, remind your employees to stand. A standing meeting keeps the energy high and reminds everyone to speak concisely. 

Benefits of a Daily Huddle 

Communication is obviously important in the office-based setup that you were once in, but it is even more magnified now that your team is working remotely. The benefits of the daily huddle may seem subtle initially, but once it becomes a repeated habit, it will become the most important 10 minutes of your day.

So you might be asking, how can a daily huddle help me and my team? Read on. 

Ensures Streamlined Communication

It’s typical for employees to constantly ask about work updates or company news, but it becomes dangerous when they keep getting information from the grapevine. Use the daily huddle as your opportunity to communicate important announcements. 

It’s crucial that the information comes directly from you especially in times of uncertainty like this global health crisis. An email blast is good but you don’t want to settle with good. What’s even better is to speak with your employees face-to-face. You can easily do that online by gathering your team in a video call. 

You know that everybody is there and that your team heard it from you first. As such, you also get the chance to correct misinformation on the spot. The huddle also helps eliminate the same questions asked over and over again, thus reducing back and forth messages. 

Increases Productivity

You will never realize what a quick daily meeting can do until you keep getting interrupted by 5 different people asking the same questions. When working remotely, they can conveniently send you emails and direct messages anytime. These interruptions can quickly pile up within the day and eventually disrupt your workflow and productivity.

Address the questions with quick answers during the daily huddle so that everyone is in the loop. This way, all questions are answered in one go and employees can quickly go back to their zone of genius. 

Once your employees learn that they can expect answers to their questions in the daily huddle, you will not be bombarded with questions anymore throughout the day. 

Encourages Positivity

remote work

No matter how much your employees love their job, at some point, it can become stressful and routinary. If that is true during regular working days, then how much more so when they’re working remotely amidst the coronavirus crisis?

All the anxiety and stress of thinking about what the world is going through can negatively affect their mental health. Who knows, maybe they have a family member or a close friend who’s a frontliner. That they are scared and worried about their health and safety. 

With all this being said, a daily huddle can be an avenue for everyone to celebrate their wins and victories, whether big or small. It can also be a time for you as a leader to remind your team to still look at the bright side, lift them up, and offer words of wisdom and encouragement. It will help everyone stay calm and motivated, obviously without downplaying the seriousness of today’s situation. 

Maintain Healthy Team Dynamics

remote work

Even in an office setting, your employees might not see each other or might not speak with each other often. When someone is working on a project, it’s easy for them to get stuck in their cubicle without any interaction for a few days or weeks.

As your company or business transitions from the office to remote work, make a point to maintain healthy team dynamics. A daily huddle will ensure everyone is connected and has some sort of interaction daily no matter how quick. It will also promote trust among the team, giving you the peace of mind that everyone supports each other. 

To lighten the mood of your meeting, consider adding icebreakers to your agenda. Assign someone to prepare a fun fact, a joke, or a weird quarantine habit. Be creative and keep it exciting!

It is best to let your team understand the benefits and importance of your daily huddle. When they know why you have this meeting in place, they will be more open to participate and commit to it daily. 

Start creating your daily huddle agenda today! Download the free agenda templates here and benefit from improved remote work.

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Business

Important, Non-Urgent Tasks – The Surprising Silver Lining of COVID-19

Even the most imaginative of risk-management plans could be excused for not including a contingency for a global pandemic of this magnitude, that has sent planet earth into total pandemonium. Many business owners have been terribly affected by the unforeseeable catastrophe of COVID-19, regrettably forced to lay off staff or ‘grant’ them unpaid leave. No one saw this coming, and mature, established companies have been taken all the way back to square one. 

silver lining of covid-19

However, there are some fortunate businesses, that for one reason or another, have the ability to weather the storm and keep their team on their payroll. If you have this privilege – and it is a privilege – you are dually encouraged to do so. Or alternatively, you will do so, as you are prompted to do so by the 3 key decision-making considerations in behavioural psychology: a social incentive, a moral incentive, and an economic incentive. 

Social: You know your staff, you love them, you have grown together, your kids have grown together; you do not want to let them go unless you absolutely have to.

Moral: We’re in the face of a global recession, in which thousands will lose their jobs and not manage to pay the bills, driving up delinquency rates, etc, etc; you are inclined to play your part in stabilizing the economy.

Economic: This incentive, by far the most subjective, is the basis of this article. A shortsighted business owner is economically inclined to let their staff go, for obvious reasons. A smart business owner sees grand opportunity in standing by their team during these tough times for two key reasons: 

1. The trust and belief you can build by acting as a ‘constant in a world full of variables’ will last for a lifetime. Your staff will repay you with loyalty, and higher retention rates and a motivated team will usually lead to long term economic success. 

2. Practically, you can astutely apply your employees during this time to attend to all the non-urgent, yet important projects that you’ve never had the chance to explore. This time will inevitably be slow on the sales/client/service/product end of your business, so you will have to be dynamic…but if you get it right, this is your chance to iron out inefficiencies, prepare yourself for scale, and leapfrog the competition.

More specifically, this is the basis of this article. 

It’s a nice concept, in theory, but that’s not good enough. You are likely incurring a serious risk by supporting your staff through COVID-19, and the devil on your right shoulder tells you to let them go. So here, direct from MultiplyMii to the angel on your left shoulder – 5 important tasks to justify keeping your staff, even if the business is slow:

  1. Migrate Everything Offline –> Online
silver lining of covid-19

In the 2008 recession, the startups to experience mega-growth were the unique companies that turned Ordinary Joe into a potential small-business owner, such as Uber and Airbnb. Early signs suggest that the coronavirus winners will be the companies that turn the Ordinary Bedroom into a workplace, such as Zoom Video and all cloud computing services.

This is a sign of times to come, where remote work and flexibility are the rules; and 9 to 5, suit and tie is the outdated exception.

If you’re reading this and pompously excluding your industry from this transition, think again. All trends suggest that COVID-19 has only advanced the inevitable, and you should use this time to make sure you’re as versatile as possible. Any paperwork, any documentation that is not cloud-based, any task that is bound to a specific computer – there’s no room for that anymore. 

Gather your team and ask them to write down all the tasks they perform, period. Even this process will get your juices flowing. Sit down with each employee and break down each task into individual steps. Everything that is digital and cannot be performed remotely is an inefficiency; or rather, a risk. Brainstorm clever ways to transition as much of your process online as possible. If the software that you’re using prevents dynamic work, then perhaps it’s the wrong software for you. This process is a form of risk mitigation and if you’re harsh on yourself, the challenge will galvanize your team. 

  1. Implement a Project Management Tool

As a growing business, if you’re not feeling the need for a project management tool, you’re probably not moving fast enough. The other option is that you’re inefficiently staffed, but if we go down that route, we’ve defeated the purpose of this article. 

Online project management tools, such as Monday, Trello, or Asana, allow you to visually map your team’s tasks and extend your bandwidth by up to 100%. Used correctly, these operating systems prevent tasks from falling between the cracks, and help you stay focused while juggling countless responsibilities. 

The pain point is the implementation, as most companies never find the time to dedicate to setting up the management tool effectively. It is a team-wide effort, as everyone needs to learn to customize and create SOP’s (standard operating procedures) so that the tool can help you gain time, not lose it.

  1. Conduct a Business Audit
silver lining of covid-19

This may seem too high level, but it doesn’t need to be. With many consultants out of work and affordable options for small-business audits, you can take this opportunity to put all your team under the microscope and receive practical, useful deliverables from management experts. This is the perspective you’ve been lacking for years – an external, fresh set of eyes to convey to you how you can improve your operation.

Depending on the audit, this can include the detection of inefficiencies, bottle-necks, management concerns, and employee dissatisfaction.

Ensure that you correctly communicate with your team the purpose of this audit, as they naturally will fear the worst. You will require their co-operation to prepare all the documentation – prepare for this to be time-consuming. The results will be delivered quickly, and it can be performed entirely remotely. Good luck!

For more information about small-business audits, reach out to audit@multiplymii.com.

  1. Build a Workplace Upskilling and Educational Program

Job seekers are placing an increasing value on personal development as one of the key considerations when choosing their workplace, even above job security. Upskilling is a true win-win, as your employee gainfully learns a new skill that can be implemented to improve your business. 

At MultiplyMii, we have a curated list of books for our internal team that all add priceless value. 50% of the time spent reading these books can be billed to MultiplyMii, provided they share their learnings with their team in a quick presentation at the end of the read.

It’s amazing for employee satisfaction and team culture, as well as ensuring that we are always growing from within. 

Ask each employee to propose an upskilling program that would benefit their daily operation – improve, approve, and begin to implement it. Ensure that it is meticulously documented so that it can be recycled for new employees in the future. Additionally, encourage the learning and personal growth of your team by frequently sharing some of your personal upskilling projects too! 

  1. Create Video Training for EVERYTHING

Recruiting and onboarding new staff is the most critical stage of the growth of any business. While it would take a fearless warrior to go on a hiring spree right now, you can adequately prepare yourself for when the time comes.

Documenting all of your processes into video-training courses has both overt and covert benefits. Obviously, creating a full onboarding program makes every hire or org-chart shift a relatively hands-off task, which is important as you naturally forge change when you are at your busiest.

Less visibly, the act of recording all of your processes will place the spotlight on the tiniest of tasks and raise important questions on their effectiveness. 

Using Loom Video, you can easily capture your face and screen simultaneously to explain exactly how you perform all of your tasks. Loom Video has slashed 50% off their subscription plans to help companies during COVID-19, so don’t miss out! 

P.S – If you’re an employee reading this, fearful of the next phone call from your boss, feel free to reach out to us. We can anonymously send them this article and, just maybe, help you keep your job. 

MultiplyMii will be releasing frequent content to help your business thrive during the COVID-19 working regulations. 

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Business Remote Work

How to Lead A Successful Daily Huddle For Your Remote Team

When working with a remote team, it can be a struggle to have everyone in the same room at the same time. As a leader or manager, you can overcome this struggle by scheduling a daily team huddle online. 

A daily team huddle is a power-meeting that lasts for 10-15 minutes. It’s typically conducted standing up to keep it quick and high-energy. Your remote team will truly benefit from this daily meeting. It helps streamline communication via reliable, real-time interaction. It also reduces the feeling of isolation and makes your employees feel that they are part of a team. 

The daily huddle might be your shortest meeting of the day, but that doesn’t mean you just quickly gather everyone and wing it. When you don’t have perfect practices in place, you risk wasting everybody’s time. To avoid that, remember to keep your daily huddles effective by following our tips below. 

Tips for Working With a Remote Team

1. Keep the meeting short

working with a remote team

Daily Huddles are designed for speed and alignment, so keep it short and sweet at 10-15 minutes. In a quick meeting like this, it’s easy to go off-topic. Before you know it, your daily huddle has turned into a full-blown hour-long meeting. 

To keep your huddle short, make sure you are in control. You may also assign a meeting leader to keep things on topic. 

2. Remind everyone to stand.

Even though this is a video call and your team is working remotely, encourage your employees to stand. 

For longer meetings, people already expect that they should sit, relax, and feel settled and comfortable. 

With daily huddles, it’s important to stand to keep up the energy to make sure the meeting doesn’t go off track.

3. Stick to your meeting schedule.

working with a remote team

Respect everybody’s time. It’s a quick meeting, so start on time and end on time. When someone is late, you don’t wait for that person. Communicate the daily huddle agenda and schedule to your team ahead of time. Get everyone’s acknowledgment and commitment to join daily. 

Ideally, your daily huddle should take place at the beginning of the day and this is easy if you all have the same work schedule. For shifting and flexible schedules, find a sweet spot during the day to schedule your daily huddle. 

​4. Follow your daily agenda. 

Sticking to a daily agenda keeps your discussion consistent. Communicate your agenda to your team so that everyone knows not to go off-topic. Naturally, your employees will want to solve a problem on the spot, but take note that your daily huddle is NOT the time to problem-solve. Instead, acknowledge the problem then set another meeting to discuss it in detail. 

5. Create a speaking order.

Some employees may be more comfortable with speaking a lot, while others may just settle with listening and observing. During your daily huddles, it is important that each team member speaks. To make sure this happens, set a speaking order so that each knows to prepare.

Obviously, if you have a bigger group, this might take a lot of time and will then defeat the purpose of the quick meeting. To avoid going overtime, break the group into smaller groups and have one daily huddle with each group. If you can only afford one huddle daily, assign a team leader to facilitate each meeting.

6. Meet your team face-to-face.

There are a lot of ways to implement your daily huddles. The easiest is through a phone conference, and although it is tried and tested to work, it’s harder to interact because you cannot see each other. 

A video conference is a better way to meet your team. It allows for a face-to-face interaction despite people’s different locations. You can see your team’s expressions and it also ensures that everyone is paying attention. 

If you have a speaking order in place and a capable meeting leader, your video conference should be seamless and successful.

7. Keep your daily huddles regular.

As a leader or manager, it’s your responsibility to make sure that a daily huddle serves its purpose. For the huddle to be effective, it has to be daily. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see the value of the huddle if it’s weekly. In order for it to replace daily interruptions, team members need to have a dependable alternative.

Let your team know the importance of your huddle. This way, it will feel just like a regular part of their work routine, instead of a daily chore that they despise. It also helps the employees plan ahead and know what to say, thus saving even more time during your actual meeting.

As you go through your huddle day by day, know that there’s always an opportunity to improve and change things up. This is to make sure that your daily huddle, again, still serves its purpose. Just keep the communication lines open and set proper expectations. 

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Jobseekers Remote Work

How to Avoid the #1 Struggle of Working Remotely

How do you win against the struggle of working remotely?

Sleeping stations, coffee vouchers, or happy hours – companies around the world are beginning to recognize the importance of offering workplace perks to improve their talent acquisition and retention. In fact, job seekers in 2019 ranked employee benefits as the 2nd most important factor when filtering which companies to apply for, trailing only to remuneration. 

Of the perks, the most popular by a significant margin is the ability to work remotely. Citing flexible schedules and time with family as the key components, applicants use websites such as Glassdoor to analyze which companies will offer them the flexible schedules that they desire. 

So, one thing is for sure – COVID-19 has advanced the inevitable: remote work is not a band-aid solution, it’s here to stay. 

Typically, you would’ve waited for larger companies to experiment with working from home to learn from their mistakes, allowing you to slowly enlarge your comfort zone rather than step out of it. 

But now you don’t have that choice, you have to get this right…immediately! 

In 2019, buffer.com published their annual report on the State of Remote Work, combining the opinions of almost 2,500 remote employees to learn about their routines, benefits and pain points. 

Albeit usually the optimists, working from home during the coronavirus is unlikely to yield the typical, regular benefits. Conversely, the pain points will remain vigilant, perhaps even exacerbated. 

Almost everyone flirts with the idea of working from home occasionally, staying in their pyjamas, and doing the bare minimum with Netflix in the background. But obviously, this is neither sustainable nor effective – the struggles of working from home will appear through the cracks within a couple of days. As such, it is important to channel your efforts NOW into avoiding the strains, to keep your team productive during this uncertain time. 

Take a look at the results of the Buffer survey for the most difficult of working remotely:

struggle of working remotely

The #1 Problem – Unplugging After Work

For in-house workers, it is simple – when you’re at work, work; when you’re at home, rest.

The key struggle for remote workers is the ability to mentally switch off, given the lack of separation between home and the workplace. Every waking moment is an opportunity to be working, even if it is not expected. Employees infectiously fall into the tempting trap of working at 50% for 12 hours instead of 80% for 8 hours, or even 40% for 14 hours. This may seem like a similar output, but the absence of intensity in a business is the death of productivity.

Very few operators remain efficient without a strong routine, even if they get more done for the first week. This slippery slope can extend to a reduction in physical exercise, continuous snacking instead of meal-eating, and most dramatically, an increase in stress levels as they lose

Flexibility through Structure

struggle of working remotely

Avoiding this is simple, but you’ll need to do something counterintuitive – make rules to create flexibility. I know what you’re thinking, that’s an oxymoron. But with company-wide guidelines on login times, expected response rates, and even mandated lunch breaks, you afford your employees the gift of routine. By establishing a concrete structure in your business, you emulate the work-home split for your company that will act as an anchor during these times of ambiguity. 

Create a conversation around your employee’s daily schedule and encourage them to maintain a ‘regular’ life as much as possible. Here are some of the simple, practical ways we encourage the MultiplyMii team to maintain a balanced lifestyle while working from home:

  • Beware of everyone’s working hours and respect them religiously.
  • Morning video huddle – start the day together with momentum. 
  • Shared calendars with non-work-related events updated too. This includes walking the dog, morning jogs, cooking dinner, and social meet-ups (COVID-19 permitting).
  • Logout message – inform the team when you’re logging out for the day. 
  • Respect the weekend!

Beware the Overzealous Employee

Furthermore, protect your team from the over-motivated employee that works outside their prescribed hours. While initially, you may LOVE the determination, the subtle pressure that they accidentally create for their peers is detrimental to your business. First, employees will begin to respond to Slack messages during their ‘off’ hours…then it will be emails, and finally calls. Before you know it, your company has abandoned a healthy workplace routine, employees aren’t managing to unplug and stress levels surge through the roof. Productivity will indeed spike, but very quickly the trend will reverse. 

You heard it here first – don’t be short-sighted!

Your role as a manager is to catch any falling stones that can trigger the avalanche. It may seem counterintuitive to call-out your most driven, loyal team-member. However, your role as a leader is to be holistic and see the bigger picture. A balanced lifestyle is always important, but even more so in the midst of COVID-19!

Practice What You Preach

This is two-fold: 

1. Be an example for your team. Despite the surrounding chaos, champion the value of maintaining your existing work-life balance. If you start working 16-hour workdays, your employees may well follow suit. Conversely, if you pave the way to correctly operate remotely, your team will naturally reflect your best intentions. 

2. Take care of yourself! Recognise that this period will be unpredictably challenging from a personal perspective and your leadership will be tested. If you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’re probably not wrong. Conscript daily concrete rules to essentially enforce work-life balance upon yourself while working from home. You have a responsibility to your team to remain level-headed, so employ necessary measures to ensure you can remain the vanguard in the fight against the coronavirus pandemonium. 

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Jobseekers Remote Work

5 Ways to Keep Your Team Motivated Remotely During COVID-19

Shifted to work from home set-up? Motivating your remote team can be challenging but possible.

As a sensible business manager, you’re currently channeling your energy to building a viable contingency plan to guide the company through the COVID-19 crisis.

Conversely, any sensible employee is currently disturbingly distracted by the possibility that their future with your company is in jeopardy. Both you and your team can be forgiven for plainly placing your own survival above all else – but that’s going to have to change for your business to succeed, and you’re going to have to be the bigger man (or woman, of course). 

For unprecedented pandemonium such as this, no data from 2008 or 2001 or even 1929 can be conscripted as a guide. All you have to rely on is fierce, courageous leadership. It can be tempting to place your Big Business problems above the level of your team, but you’re going to need everyone on board to successfully navigate this period. Remember, your company is bigger than you. While it may not seem the most urgent right now, managing and motivating your team is the most important issue for the future of your business. 

The trick is to align everyone’s self-interest into one collective goal and help them identify with your concerns, while you identify with theirs. This can be even harder to pull off when working remotely, so here are some tips to help you adapt your management style to the corona restrictions to display strong leadership. Motivating your remote team can be possible through:

1. Communication. Communication. Communication.

motivated remotely

Put yourself in the shoes of your employee right now. They’ve got a mortgage or rent, perhaps a sick parent and the kids are at home. The most important thing running through their head is the security of their employment. They know that you’re being pushed against the wall, but it’s not their job to put themselves in your shoes.

While working from a distance, they’re hanging on to every episode of communication they have with you, whether by email, phone or their aunt’s friend who saw you “worryingly smile” while getting your morning coffee. If they’re millennials, they’re gossiping about you in the Whatsapp group. Even though they’re potentially competing against each other for a spot on a shrinking team, they’re teaming up together because they’re seeking comfort, not rationale. 

The only way to calm the nerves and steady the ship is to communicate with your team. You’re not sitting in the same room, but that doesn’t mean there’s space for an elephant. You should address the most pressing issue head-on, and offer the team as much peace-of-mind as you responsibly can. 

If you have the luxury of being optimistic, you should be. If your business has been hit hard, you can still show positive intent and integrity in your response. Look your employees in the eye (on a video call) and say something to the effect of: 

“Times may be tough, but you are a valued member of the team, and my number one priority is pushing through this with you on board. Whatever the case, I promise to communicate with you honestly and expect nothing less from you in return.”

2. Get Small Wins on the Board

Get Small Wins on the Board

In modern first-aid courses, other than CPR and opening airways, a crucial element of the curriculum is dealing with a patient in a state of emotional shock. The main method of bringing the patient back to being a cognizant decision-maker is by requesting that they perform easy tasks to record achievements. Simple requests such as “Can you hold my water bottle?” or “Tie your shoelaces”, followed by positive reinforcement. 

While your employees (hopefully) aren’t in a medical state of shock, the same concept applies to crisis management. Return to the basics and help your team accomplish small wins to build momentum and encourage positive intent. It will help alleviate stress and return their focus to the task ahead.

3. Emulate the Water Cooler

Emulate the Water Cooler

Don’t lose touch of the social benefits of the workplace. You may be motivated by the success of the business, living from metric to metric – that’s okay. But your workers value the morning smiles, the precious lunch-breaks, the workplace banter, and the collective countdown to Friday afternoon drinks. Motivating your remote team can bring more value.

Help facilitate this community while working remotely, by assigning time to all get on a conference call and talk about non-work related topics. In our company, as everyone is always remote, we have a Monday morning coffee break to talk about our weekends. Be present during these conversations and show that you are emotionally invested in your employees, not just financially. This can provide comfort and defeat anxiety, as well as lessen the loneliness of isolation.

4. Be a Port of Call

Be a Port of Call

Your employees are bound to experience personal challenges over the next few months, and a strong leader is the first port of call. A weak leader, alternatively, is never exposed to the suffering as they are impersonal, feared, or deemed not to care. 

The challenge of working remotely, not just during the COVID-19 isolation, is developing strong relationships with employees in which they feel comfortable talking about insecurities. While it is important to constantly remind your team that you’re always available for a chat, the best way to encourage this is to ask questions and show that you care. Set up a weekly meeting with each member of your team, where the first 10 minutes is dedicated solely to a ‘personal catch-up’. 

While working remotely, maintaining company loyalty and a support mechanism is crucial to motivating your staff to continue to work hard during these times.

5. DON’T Walk on Eggshells

Communication. Communication. Communication.

Giving face-to-face negative feedback is tough work for any employer, so criticism while working remotely – with a foreboding economic crisis – is a real land-mine. 

However, it is crucial for businesses to have honest evaluations and feedback loops at all times to ensure quality control. Don’t fall into the trap of walking on eggshells because you’re nervous about the effect of your negative feedback. It won’t serve you or your employee, as let’s face it – sometimes the stick is more effective than the carrot.

After working with Filipinos for over a year, I have learned of the art of giving feedback to extremely non-confrontational team members at the best of times. Here are 3 key takeaways: 

  • It’s all about managing expectations early. Create a project brief in which you outline a number of crucial factors, such as deadlines, requirements, and deliverables. If you didn’t set expectations properly, hold yourself accountable. If they didn’t meet your standards, it will all be documented.
  • Don’t give negative feedback until you have a planned a practical follow-up task to give them an opportunity to improve. 
  • Negative feedback should not be emotional or personal, rather constructive and reasonable. Try to help your employer recognise your point of view, and avoid escalating the feedback into a conflict. 

Start motivating your remote team now and increase productivity.

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