When many companies have been forced to adopt a work-from-home policy, how do we ensure employees retain the feeling of empowerment? Some managers feel empowering their employees implies a lack of control, but it doesn’t have to. By empowering a remote workforce, you can actually boost your workers’ productivity and active working hours.
We’re going to dive into what it means to be empowered and discover ways to enable our teams to excel remotely.
What does empowerment mean?
Empowering remote workers means giving them the ability to pave their own path, manage their own time, and allows them to become decision-makers instead of order-takers. Truly empowered employees have the trust of their managers to do their jobs in a way that allows them to be creative in their thinking and manage their time and priorities autonomously.
Employees who work remotely actually work more than they would in the office. Think about this: if you have “skin in the game,” you’re more likely to invest in driving a project to success.
By providing remote employees this type of autonomy and ownership, managers allow employees to align the work they’re doing with the company mission and give them a vested interest in the project’s (and company’s) success.
How do you empower remote workers?
Every team member is motivated differently—and the same can be said regarding empowerment. Hopefully, you’re familiar with your team and what makes them tick. But if you’re not, find out more. What gets them up in the morning? When do they like to work? What are the projects they’re excited about, and which ones are they dragging their feet on?
Having this context about each employee will go a long way in helping you create an environment where they feel empowered.
Create clear expectations and deadlines
Creating clear expectations with deadlines (yes, deadlines) is crucial for your remote workers to understand what is expected of them and it’s key in allowing your remote workforce to set clear work/home boundaries.
According to a survey from FlexJobs, 66% of participants feel they would be more productive working remotely. When an employee has the ability to get creative with their time-management abilities and organize their workload in a way that is flexible their productivity increases.
If your remote teams clearly understand what they need to accomplish and when tasks need to be complete, they can then prioritize projects. Of course, you have to find what works best for your remote team. By doing this, you’ll be creating a trusting environment where open communication empowers your remote workers and allows them to be more productive.
So many remote workers ask for opportunities to grow in their current position and that’s where delegating plays a dual role. Delegating gets employees involved in decision-making and allows them to explore things they’ve never done before, while also evening out the team’s workload.
Delegating purchasing and budgets is another way to increase efficiency and empower employees. Divvy surveyed 268 employees from a dozen different companies and found that being assigned their own corporate credit card moved the needle of their opinion “my company empowers its employees” from neutral to overall positive.
Allow your remote workers to get their feet wet by delegating smaller projects that will interest them. Taking on new responsibilities is addictive, and delegating can be contagious. Start a new delegation train on your remote team and see who hops aboard.
Track projects and meet frequently
There’s nothing worse than reinventing the wheel when you don’t have to or finding out everyone working remotely has been working on the same thing. In fact, 64% of remote workers felt like a coworker changed a project without notifying them. When the team gets in sync with one-another by scheduling a regular touch-base, everyone gets a piece of the puzzle to work on and you can more easily navigate to your deadline. This holds everyone accountable, allows remote workers to collaborate by reviewing each other’s work, and exchanges ideas and viewpoints that may have otherwise been overlooked.
That being said, don’t make meetings too lengthy. You need to make sure you’re communicating, and that essential information isn’t falling through the cracks—but most meetings are 30 – 60 minutes long and in 73% of meetings only 2-4 people are involved. Make sure your meetings are productive and end them early if there’s nothing to discuss.
Make sure you keep the project information in a dedicated spot where remote teams can easily update what they are doing and view the entire project and it’s completion as a whole (Notion, Gitlab, and Salesforce are a couple great collaboration tools we use here at Divvy).
Recognize your coworkers and employees
Don’t underestimate the power of appreciation. Every remote worker should be recognized for their contributions, and this is especially important with remote working teams because they don’t have as much face-time as in-office teams.
There are many ways to recognize remote workers and every employee likes to be recognized differently (keep that in mind when you’re deciding how to show appreciation). At Divvy, our remote teams set aside time to recognize one another through video conferencing allowing face-to-face time.
It starts with you
Empowerment doesn’t have to look the same at every company, just like how company culture differs from office to office—but it is a key contributor in getting remote workers to think creatively and innovatively. It also boosts production and allows remote workers to benefit from the flexibility of remote schedules.
In a recent study done by OWL labs over 80% of participants said the ability to work remotely makes them happier, feel entrusted, and allows them to balance their work and life more efficiently.
It’s time to take what you’ve learned and create an empowered remote team of your own. Divvy is passionate about creating financial solutions for your business that empower all employees and help you spend smarter.