‘Hey! I am working remotely these days’, is a phrase that is not usually thrown around among professionals in India barring big IT companies. In the Indian context, the concept of remote work has not gained much momentum yet. This is mainly owing to the fact that the work culture there is most easily correlated with a defined corporate address and a workforce which makes itself available at a corporate address on each working day.
Given this fact, therefore to even think of implementing a remote work culture at our start-up TFTH was nothing short of craziness but we were determined to give it a try. The reasons for experimenting with it was our deep-rooted belief that it would increase productivity. So we decided to start with our marketing team i.e. Content, SEO, and Outreach team. And it gives me immense happiness that not only we did achieve our mission, but also we were able to increase the productivity by 20% and reduce of administrative cost by 8%. Along the way, we also learned some tips to scale remote work productively.
Let us take a look at these tips which guided us along our endeavor.
A quick look at some essential tips to scale remote work productively.
1. Changing the mindset of the manager
We realized that the first roadblock to a remote working environment was the manager’s distrust (lack of a better word) over his subordinates. As it turns out, the managers expressed their dissatisfaction over having a workforce which was geographically located elsewhere. This doubt arose mainly because of a false sense of assurance when the employee was located within the controlling range of the manager. Doubts about their working efficiency and completion of tasks were among the top insecurities that riddled these managers and led them to distrust the idea of a remotely working employee. Therefore the first thing we did was to change the mindset of these managers. We had to hold long discussions with them to chaff out roles and responsibilities of each member and manager’s expectations out of them on a daily basis.
2. Fixing quantitative daily output
When it comes to fixing the quantitative daily output of a person, no manager feels completely satisfied, even after having the employee with him on site. In order to make the idea of remote working a reality, it was necessary to fix performance targets for each employee for a given day. In this way, we overcame another major hurdle in implementing remote work. It involved understanding clearly that working face to face allows a manager to get work done on an intuitive basis. However, with a remote working environment, there is a need to fix some numbers which can act as a benchmark for measuring performance.
3. Communicating daily expectation to team members
Communication is a two-way road and works well only when both sides have understood the agenda of the conversation. As important as it is for a manager to lay down the tasks for a day, he cannot expect great results unless the same has been communicated to the employee. In order to make remote working a success, it is important for a superior and subordinate to relay and understand the short term and long term targets. This process of communication will only act as a stepping stone in the ultimate achievement of the intended goals of the organization as a whole.
4. Reporting mechanism
Another essential process that helped us in implementing remote working environment was tight reporting mechanism. As long as the remote worker feels responsible and accountable for jobs done by him on a daily basis, he will always strive to perform at par with his superior’s expectations. We use this ideology not only to improve the productivity of the remote worker but also to make him feel responsible for the work done by him. A system of daily reporting balances out the jobs which remain stuck in the pipeline of workload even when the employee is present in an office.
5. Review every fortnightly
The agenda of a fortnightly review finds its roots in human psychology which explains why a person may find a long-term task arduous and monotonous. The best way to counteract this problem is to give short-term goals to a remote worker, which can be reviewed at every fortnight for rectifications. This means that even when a remote worker displays regularity in achieving his daily tasks, he is still held responsible for his performance which is under constant review. This also implied that managers were in a far better position to connect with their subordinates and ensure timely achievement of the determined goals.
The idea of remote working was conceived by us not more than four months back from now, since when we put it into motion. In the time which has elapsed since then, we have monitored a significant improvement in the achievement of targets and meeting deadlines. In contrast to a conventional face to face working environment, remote working proved to be a major improvement in various aspects. Perhaps, the idea of being answerable for their work pushes the onus of responsibility strongly on an employee, which is what makes him perform better. At the end of the day, as long as targets are met efficiently, everyone is happy.
Needless to say, the tips mentioned above surely helped us in pushing the idea of remote working forward with our team members. This also made us realize that these are nothing but some of the most basic requirements that need to be put in place if remote work culture is to be made a reality.
So far we have been able to move our marketing team to a remote working culture but we do hope of moving the entire organization to the new paradigm soon. Would you have any other tip to share that can further improve the productivity? If yes, then don’t hesitate to share.
About the author:
Ankit Garg is working as a growth manager at TFTH – The Help Platform for College Students. He brings with him a rich experience of content-driven SEO, team management and product. Besides work, he is aiming for early retirement and blogs his FIRE journey at 60to45.