A new survey by PwC finds that three-quarters of executives say that remote work caused by the pandemic was successful for their companies and that productivity (despite an initial decline) stayed on track or even improved.
One interesting finding, however, is that it's "superachievers" who seem to be pulling the weight, often working harder and longer than other team members. These superachievers, which accounted for about one-third of a total sample, didn't slack off even though it appears that other people did.
PwC points out that these superachievers may be accomplishing a lot because of fewer distractions or they are feeling an adrenaline high. But such workers aren't going to be able to sustain the team for long, and other workers report they're suffering burnout and stress.
That's why PwC recommends that leaders need to ensure they're setting all remote workers up for success. Among the recommendations:
1. Key business indicators (KIP). You can't just look at sales calls made, but must also look at effectiveness, input and output and team accountability. This can help managers spot productivity declines or when someone may be near the breaking point.
2. New skills for leaders. When teams aren't physically together, it may be tougher to spot someone who is struggling. Leaders need help in developing their emotional intelligence so that they can better coach remote workers, recognize problems and use effective remote work strategies to help teams.
3. A pat on the back. Some teams would ring a bell with a new sale, or gather for lunch to celebrate achievements. Remote workers still need that recognition -- and leaders need those celebrations to be something that is meaningful to the team member and celebrates achievements in a timely way.
4. Set a schedule. Demands at home can be a distraction for remote workers, so it's a good idea to build structure into team schedules, whether it's a "no meeting" day, or times when breaks are taken for walks or to take care of personal needs.
You may not know what the future holds for your team, whether you will return to the office, continue working remotely or have a hybrid model. But whatever the future holds, don't delay in improving your management of your remote team.