Delegation Tactics for the Remote Workforce
As a whirlwind of a year comes to a close, there’s one thing we’re taking into 2021, working from home. As most people were compelled to stay indoors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working quickly turned from a growing trend to a new norm. A first for many, remote working comes with both its perks and pitfalls. That said, one way to make the most of your business’ remote workforce is effective delegation.
The Importance of Delegation
Delegation is often seen either as surrendering power or diluting quality. A survey by Quickbooks shows that 96% of business owners find it challenging to let the reins go. As a result, 4 in 5 small business owners struggle to work ‘on’ their business because they are too stuck ‘in’ their business. Contrary to this notion, effective delegation can have much value in bettering a business.
Effective delegation frees up time for business owners to grow their business, hone their leadership skills, and build a well-oiled team. It is also a show of trust in your employees. It can help boost their confidence, re-engage them at work, and make them more committed to your business. One person can’t and shouldn’t do it all. With remote workforces, delegation can help overcome boundaries and foster a collaborative work atmosphere.
On the surface, delegation appears fairly simple. However, in reality, it’s incredibly nuanced and requires thought and strategy. If you want to manage your remote workforce better, here is your foolproof guide to delegation:
1. Assign Tasks Effectively
It’s not always easy to delegate tasks, especially if you’re someone who believes you need to do a job yourself to get it done right. However, the first step to overcoming that is to make sure you have the right people to trust and start assigning tasks. Be sure to assess the interests, experience, and skills of your employees and match them with the tasks you believe are the best fit.
Don’t forget to consider their bandwidth. Do they have too much on their plates already or are they using their time wisely? Audit your employees’ workload. Start by breaking tasks down, assessing the scope of work, timelines, and deadlines, as well as expected results and challenges. Tips that might help at this stage include:
- Setting expectations: Let your team know what you expect from them and what outcome you’re looking for. Make sure everyone is on the same page before setting a final deliverable or deadline.
- Communicating clearly: Make sure you communicate precisely what needs to be achieved. Assure your employees they can come to you with concerns or feedback.
- Allowing for self-delegation: If you have a large team working towards a big objective, allow them to self delegate based on their strengths.
Remember, delegation isn’t just about splitting the workload and handing out tasks. It’s how you do it that matters.
2. Communicate Efficiently
Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to delegation is effective communication. The importance of communication is further exacerbated by remote work, where there’s no option to interact with employees in-person. There are many communication hindrances to remote work — poor internet connections, unsynchronised log-in, and odd working hours.
So there are communication strategies that come a close second to in-person communication. Utilising project management tools and internal communication networks like Asana, Slack, and monday.com can go a long way in bringing your team together. Make sure employees have access to all the details and context they need and always account for small hiccups on the way.
Delegation doesn’t mean removing yourself from the equation entirely. Remain in the loop and establish a flow of communication so you always have an eye on what’s happening. Feedback loops, in particular, are vital to sharpening the delegation process and to assess progress.
Creating room for real input and feedback from both your team and vice-versa helps iron out any hiccups in the delegation process. You may learn to refine your instructions, which timelines work for your team, or glean suggestions for the future.
Effective ways to create and integrate feedback loops are:
- Celebrate and acknowledge milestones: Create regular checkpoints and motivate and appreciate team members when they get there.
- Conduct regular progress reviews: Assess the project’s progress according to your employees. Use these assessments to alter or determine timelines, workloads, and delegation for future projects.
- Recognise your team’s efforts when they do a good job: Remote working is not all rainbows and roses. Celebrating wins and praising hard work motivate your team to push themselves and commit to your company.
4. Encourage Employees
Remote work may be just as new an experience for your employees, so it’s important to encourage and empower them.
Help employees get the best of their environments by training them in best practices for remote working:
- Encourage employees to find or create workspaces: WFH is no cakewalk and mimicking certain office conditions can encourage productivity and engagement. Encourage employees to create dedicated workspaces in their homes.
- Equip them with the resources and tools they need: Whether it’s compensation for a fast internet connection or sending them computer devices, make sure your employees have what they need to give their best.
- Prioritise a healthy work-life balance: Encourage consistent working hours and regular breaks and avoid anyone working overtime.
Once you look at delegation less as task assignments and more as business strategy, half the hill is climbed. And with WFH here to stay, using the strategies listed above is sure to help you and your team go the distance to achieve your goals no matter the distance between you.