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Signs it is not working

Do you consider remote working in your team a success? Read this article to learn about signs of when it may not be working for your team. 

When we consider remote work and assess its success, we need to be aware of a number of signs that it is not working for us and our team.  

Before you read the signs below, reflect on your experience of when COVID-19 hit and everyone had to suddenly work remotely. Make notes on a piece of paper.

  • Did any of your colleagues struggle to work remotely?
  • How did you know that they struggled?
  • What did you notice in terms of their work?
  • What did you notice in terms of their personal life? 

Now, read the signs below and see if they are similar or different to your own experience.

  • Absenteeism: If an employee is often off work – perhaps taking random sick days, consistently ignoring deadlines and targets, or requesting days off – this may mean that they feel disengaged. Of course, we need to be careful here and consider the well-being element of managing our team. Just because someone is off sick does not mean that are disengaged, however, if it is consistent and they do not return your calls, this can be a red flag.
  • Team withdrawal: Some team members might have poor engagement during team-building activities, choose not to attend ‘virtual lunches’, or perhaps try and keep their cameras off during video calls. These team members may simply not be interested in what we are aiming to achieve, and this is a red flag for leadership.
  • Lack of communication: A team member who changes how often and how consistently they communicate with you and your team is another warning sign. Team members staying quiet during group calls, not asking questions, or not being forthcoming about problems are a few signs that remote working may not be working for them.
  • Lacking drive: If team members who may have previously been very driven to achieve great things when working face-to-face are now disengaged and do not have the same driven attitude, they could be feeling disengaged.
  • Work quality decline: A dip in work standards is always likely to be a sign that a team member is going through some challenges. As leaders, we owe it to our team members and our organisation to provide support and constructive feedback to help them improve. However, if this does not work or they do not heed our advice, we have to acknowledge that they may be disengaged.
  • Burnout: If one of your team members is complaining that they feel exhausted or tired constantly, perhaps you are looking at a situation where remote work is not working well for them. This is where we need to step up as leaders and take into account the team member’s well-being and overall mental health to support them.
  • Conflict: If a team member is suddenly more argumentative, stressed, or seems like they have nothing positive to add to meetings, then they may potentially be disengaged and you may need to take other steps to address this.
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