If you wonder what the most essential key to remote working is, you are in the right article. The answer is autonomy.
Autonomy is the driving force for employees and the most vital key to telecommuting.
The year 2020 was a really difficult one worldwide. Health, businesses, relationships, families, economy, etc. are really affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But now as we look back, we could also say that it was a time of opportunity.
“Every cloud has a silver lining.”
Due to COVID-19, we had the opportunity to find alternative ways to cope with our work using the possibilities of technology and the internet. This year we had the opportunity to find other options for our jobs, our families, our relationships, etc. Let’s talk about work.
Working together in person is the way we have always worked. But from 2020 until today, a lot of businesses continue to provide their services, with their employees working from home. Now that the pandemic situation seems to be normalizing, there is a huge question and debate. Finally, what is better? Work together in person, remote working, or a mixture of both?
Research on remote working
Research has shown, that although teams haven’t been co-located for over a year, productivity has remained stable and sometimes increased. The conclusion is, that employees were productive due to autonomy!
Autonomy is a crucial driver of human behavior and one of the basic work needs. Even a little can go a long way. A very simple example is that when employees at a company were given the opportunity to choose how to decorate their workplaces, their productivity increased up to 25%.
Autonomy is a source of mobilization and activation. Without it, we feel stranded, limited, and powerless. It makes us feel creative, motivated, and energized.
What are the advantages of employee autonomy?
There are a lot of reasons why it pays to allow and encourage employees to act and think independently. Some of them are:
- Greater happiness and satisfaction in the workplace, which lead to greater engagement.
- Everyone feels accountable and therefore wants to perform their best.
- Employees feel more valued.
- They feel motivated to learn new skills.
- Improved work-life balance.
- Greater sense of team culture.
How to encourage autonomy in remote working
You must build a culture of trust. It is best to start small and gradually increase an individual’s responsibilities and freedom to prove their capabilities. Rather than offer them an overwhelming amount of autonomy to begin with and be forced to backtrack if things don’t work out.
Learn from mistakes
Employees must learn from their mistakes. Leaders that are over-critical of employees’ mistakes kill initiative and creativity and consequently employee engagement. Employees must be allowed to adapt their approach to their responsibilities, to have an increased sense of control, which will benefit their performance.
Holding regular meetings and check-ins will enable you to evaluate your teams’ performance, and see whether they need more support or resources. They will also give the team the chance to raise concerns and celebrate success.
If leaders continue to micromanage and put unnecessary barriers that limit independence, autonomy will fade out, both in person and in remote working. Set clear goals, make sure that employees know what is required, and let them do their job.
Remote working and autonomy
As we already said, we are trying to get back to “normal”. But normal is subjective. A lot of employees prefer working from home while others prefer to work at the office. Those who are more extroverted and “feed” of human contact and interaction will choose to return. Those who are more introverted and enjoy meditation and quietness will prefer to work remotely.
Both have their pros and their cons for each one individually. So, each employer must ask the employees to decide by themselves, how they would like to proceed to work. Autonomy is essential for the employees’ psychology. With their increased autonomy, employees will decide when and how to arrange group meetings and discussions to achieve the right balance and productivity.
And note that this does not mean that the employer will have no control. It just means that higher emphasis is given to respect and trust.
If you want to learn more about proper employee management in remote working, contact us or visit www.jenniekamaradou.com.
With the help of organizational psychologist and business consultant, Jennie Kamaradou, you will be able to develop your leadership style and discover your professional identity. Book a free counseling session now.