It’s human nature to assume everybody thinks as we do. Many personal and professional failings stem from the inability to recognize that we all see the world through our own lens.
For instance, you and your team members may have vastly different ideas of what a job well done means. When your employees know what is expected of them, they are much more likely to deliver high-caliber results. Particularly when people are geographically dispersed, remote, or working in a hybrid arrangement, getting everyone on the same page is crucial for success.
Here are five solid strategies to help you define expectations for your remote and hybrid teams so that everyone can perform at their best.
1. Establish clear communication guidelines.
How will you and your team communicate and how often? While regular contact is essential, going overboard can backfire, creating productivity-draining distractions and stress. There are also many channels for communication—email, Messenger, Teams, Hangouts, and Slack, to name a few. Select one primary communication platform and stick to it. That way everyone knows where to check for incoming messages and important updates. You should also determine a reasonable timeframe for responses. You might ask that emails are responded to within 24 hours during the work week, for example. This gives a realistic window of opportunity to reply but it’s not so long that people are left hanging in the event they need important information. That being said, processes for high-priority, urgent, and emergency communications should be outlined, as well.
2. Identify availability expectations.
Do you expect remote workers to be online and available at certain times? Should your hybrid workers be in the office on specific days? Agreeing on details like these at the outset is important for communication and workflow, especially when team members are in different time zones. Similarly, if you have changes in time requirements for a specific project or an urgent assignment, outline them from the start to avoid confusion or issues down the line.
3. Set achievable milestones and productivity goals.
Remote and hybrid teams can be every bit as productive as in-office staff and perhaps more so, but they still need benchmarks for assessment. Setting clear and achievable milestones, such as deadlines and/or numerical targets, gives people the information they need to manage their time effectively. Milestones also serve to motivate your team members while allowing you to quickly assess their progress. When crafting team goals, it’s important to create shared objectives that fuel connections even when people are physically apart. But when setting individual goals, make sure they can be achieved independently so people don’t feel hindered or impeded by others.
4. Keep metrics straightforward and measurable.
Creating clear metrics for meeting expectations is important for all employees, whether they are virtual, hybrid, or on-site. These measurements serve to determine whether they have accomplished what they set out to do or if they are outside of the scope. There’s no need to outline every task or aspect of your team members’ jobs. Keep it simple. It’s about developing a clear understanding of what you expect and what the measure of success is. Whatever you are choosing to evaluate, make sure it’s quantifiable. Avoid subjectivity and grey areas because that’s where things can easily come undone. Stick to the calculable so there’s no room for ambiguity or doubt.
5. Inclusiveness matters too.
Even if your team is remote, there is still the need for cooperation and camaraderie. Here are some key questions to consider as you establish expectations for inclusiveness within your team:
- How will we welcome new members to the team?
- How often should we have group lunches and outings? How will they be handled to accommodate remote and hybrid workers?
- Will we have periodic in-person meetings? How often?
- How can we ensure that every team member feels welcome and is engaged?
Whatever rules you choose to establish, clearly defined and well-communicated expectations put your team on the path to productivity. They offer direction, reduce misunderstandings, and provide a framework that supports optimum performance.
Would you like additional information about setting expectations and creating goals in the remote or hybrid workplace? The HR Team is here with valuable guidance and seasoned insights. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.