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How to Encourage Remote Employees to Work on Self-Discipline?

How to encourage remote employees to work on self-discipline?

Working remotely has become a common practice nowadays. Almost two years have passed since most employees started working from home, and now most employees are completely accustomed to it. It doesn't harm to give employees the flexibility to work remotely. In fact, the flexibility to work remotely increases productivity. However, the problem with this is that employees lose years of routine and self-discipline while working remotely, resulting in affecting their productivity and competence. This means that if you do not discipline remote employees, your business will be significantly less productive. Therefore, this post will show you how to establish self-discipline for remote workers.

Let's dive into it.

How to establish self-discipline in your remote employees?

This new remote work has provided many employees with work flexibility, security, and efficiency, but somehow it has taken away their self-discipline. Employees no longer wake up at fixed times, prepare properly, and follow routines set at work. Today, employees get up at noon, wear casuals all day, and work the way they want, when they want.

One thing to keep in mind here is that you can't use the old discipline method in a remote work environment. This is because there is a virtual wall between employers and employees. Also, remote teams cannot always be monitored.

Therefore, it is necessary not only to monitor the activity of remote employees but also to work on the self-discipline of the team. Once you know how remote teams can set their own schedules, avoid distractions, and maintain good levels of productivity, you don't have to worry about training them.

Apart from all of the above, you can also improve your team's self-discipline by using a variety of methods, such as:

  • Stay connected

A Walden University case study shows that when employees have personal connections with the company, they are more engaged in the workplace. As a team leader or manager, make sure you communicate effectively with the remote team. This will increase employees' confidence and make the collaboration successful. Regular check-in calls to chat with employees can help you determine if an employee is dissatisfied or stressed.

Don't leave communication to work alone. Take some time to talk and get to know the remote workers better. Ask about their family and their likes and dislikes. This shows that you care for them not only as an employee but also as people.

Video calls are the best option for one-on-one communication with remote employees. In this way, not only can you know your employee's body language, but you can also assess the general mood of your current employee.

Above all, think of ways to reassure employees working from home that they are an integral part of the company or business and the doors are always open. Motivated employees work harder.

  • Give positive feedback

Recognizing the efforts of teams and employees is important for maintaining their motivation. It makes them feel valued, appreciated, and part of the team. Appreciate them as they go one step further and let them know that you are grateful for their efforts.

Positive feedback doesn't just have to be given verbally. Giving small bonuses is very motivating for employees.

  • Maximize on technology

All types of remote work are completely technology-dependent. Anything that prevents it can be a motivation killer. Imagine an employee who constantly uses crashing software and poor communication tools. This destroys their morale and reduces their productivity.

Take the initiative to encourage teams to invest in good laptops and high-speed internet connections, as well as make it easy for teams to chat, video call, share and download files. This not only guarantees seamless video conferencing but also provides the ability to work seamlessly with your project.

  • Trust the team to deliver

The reason most employees choose to work remotely is the flexibility to work from home. Provide support and all the tools they need, and let the team do the rest. However, first, you need to establish a clear policy that defines the expectations and responsibilities of each employee.

Educate remote teams about the company's mission so that they can adapt to a culture that strengthens that mission. In other words, motivation continues when your remote workers believe in what they are working for.

Reviewing self-discipline in the workplace

Some can develop productive habits on their own, while others need a little tweaking from their employer. Maintaining respect and order in a decentralized team also requires the establishment of clear workplace discipline guidelines for employees. Here are some recommended tips:

1. Study employee discipline laws

Employees can be disciplined in a variety of ways. In some cases, a brief training session may suffice, and more serious violations may require an oral or written warning. Regardless of the type of disciplinary action taken, it is important not to violate federal laws. Unfortunately, there are no disciplinary rules for specific employees, but there are laws that cover a wide range of issues.

In any case, the decision on disciplinary and dismissal issues is left to the employer. However, there are still some legal considerations when imposing penalties. Therefore, it is important to avoid legal risks by taking precautionary measures in disciplinary action. For example, make sure your company policy has some steps that you need to take before terminating an employee. In addition, you should have an employee handbook detailing unacceptable behavior in the workplace.

2. Set clear rules

Managing remote workers can be difficult. Therefore, it is essential to be clear about your work policy. Here are some of the common details covered in the employee handbook:

  • Dress code - Employees work from home, so they have more freedom to wear what they wear during business hours. However, if you're using video to host your Zoom meetings, you need to be clear about what your employees should wear. At that time, care must be taken not to violate the rules.

  • Morale and productivity - You need to ensure the productivity of remote employees. Therefore, discuss employee monitoring policies with them. If you use a time tracker, make sure you inform employees about the types of data that the tool collects.

  • Illegal behavior – Employees must act professionally, even when working remotely. Acts such as the use of inappropriate terms and practices are reasons for immediate termination.

3. Choose appropriate disciplinary methods

Disciplinary methods can be either punitive or rehabilitative. This means choosing a path that fits your organization's needs, mission, and goals. Here's how to discipline a remote worker:

  • Progressive disciplinary action - Whenever an employee is unable to fix the same issue, the disciplinary action will be more severe.

  • Performance improvement and training – This is a rehabilitation approach that uses measurable goals and employee improvement plans.

  • Suspension or reassignment – ​​Instead of being fired immediately, employees may be retrained or suspended for improvement.

4. Offer frequent work breaks

Today, many employees are used to working from home, and they are complaining that they have to work longer in this environment than before. If your employee is burned out, this affects their productivity, and they can even think about giving up on work.

But there is nothing to worry about. You can easily help employees by setting the appropriate break plan. Apart from a standard lunch break, allow them to take a break of 5 minutes or 15 minutes after 1 to 2 hours. After all, sitting in front of a computer for hours can lead to mental and physical exhaustion and impaired thinking ability.

So managers should allow employees to take frequent but small breaks to stay sane while working from home.

5. Perform regular check-ins

For remote workers who aren't working well or who don't seem to keep handling things well, a simple reminder or update message is often enough to get them working again. Depending on the situation, this can be done daily, every few days, weekly, or when it turns out that you are not following up regularly (or as regularly as other team members). During a one-on-one meeting with a remote worker, ask them if they are facing obstacles and what you can do to clear them.

6. Set deadlines for tasks

A deadline that simply covers most of the project is the best reason for those who are good at procrastination and delay things to the very end. This usually means skipping something, so it's never a good practice in software development. This usually turns out to be problematic and testing.

Use an agile approach instead and work towards small tasks, goals, or modules in small time steps, go for an Agile sprint. Small chunks get people better off, but you need to plan at the beginning of the sprint.

The goal isn't always achieved within the sprint, but it's fine and it's also a stat to track. It's easy to see who is good at estimating how long it will take to complete a task and who isn't.

7. Promote healthy work-life initiatives

If you notice that someone’s schedule seems unorganized or all over the place, unpredictable and inconsistent, then they are usually:

  • Not getting their work done up to the standards
  • Having personal problems, or
  • Lacking in time management

All of these situations can be handled through healthy living efforts. Promoting employee health through exercise, dieting, meditation, and more can help mitigate irregular behavior and build self-confidence. Apps like Insight Timer for meditation and Strava for biking/running can help employees reach their goals, track them over time, and compare the results with other peers.

8. Be aware of remote workers being burnout

People sometimes complain about remote workers stepping down or slacking off on their projects. There are several possible reasons for this. Workers are afraid of failing to fulfill their promises, a real emergency or personal crisis, or simply being burned out.

Before a remote worker leaves the project, be aware of the signs of a remote worker's burnout so you don't scramble to quickly find a new developer to follow the project. These signs include:

  • Lack of communication
  • Increased sick leaves
  • Reduced work output
  • Change in tone of communication
  • Decreased quality of work

You can help these employees by letting them know that you are supporting them and that you are listening to their problems. It may be helpful to pinpoint the root of the problem and then take action to correct the situation (for example, taking a vacation, reducing time, migrating/rotating tasks, etc.).

9. Encourage the use of organizational tools/apps

Set up a digital space where you and your employees can share the organizational tools and apps you use to maintain your organization. This includes apps that can be used to track and monitor well-being activities. Encourage their use and share how to set them up for optimal flow in the least amount of time.

10. Virtually coworking

Create virtual coworking as part of the weekly activity. Open a channel where remote teams can have partners "watching and collaborating" during a work session. There are also software applications that allow employees to work with their colleagues (without looking at the screen) if the team is working on the same schedule.

Conclusion

It doesn't matter if the team is working from home or in the office. To maintain a certain level of productivity and efficiency, you need to establish good discipline in your organization. You don't have to have fine-grained or complete control over your employees' lives. All you have to do is make professional decorations that you expect your team to follow.

In a remote work environment, training a team can be difficult. But with the above-given suggestions and points, you can easily establish self-discipline in your remote team.

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