It’s extremely difficult for a manager to pinpoint when an employee is struggling. Double that if the employee is working remotely.
With the workplace reconfigured, many teams now work in a hybrid or remote environment. This means that managers must develop a new skillset: identifying the signs a remote employee is poorly managing their time and is stressed.
At-home employees need as much, if not more, support from supervisors and management as onsite workers. Human Resources specialists and anyone in a supervisory role should know these six signs that someone is struggling with time management and stress levels, and needs assistance to be more efficient, productive and at ease.
1. LATE, MISSING & RUSHED?
The most obvious signs a remote employee needs help with their time management is when they are constantly late to online meetings or missing projects deadlines. Even when on time, they may seem rushed or unfocused.
2. CHANGES IN COMMUNICATIONS HABITS
One other sign that a remote worker might be under stress and isn't managing their time most effectively reflects on their communication habits. The remote work environment is entirely reliant on communications apps since co-workers cannot rap on each other’s doors when they need a chat. If a worker is feeling under the weather and is stressed, they may prefer to disable their video during meetings. Or, maybe they were once responsive to communications and become less reliably communicative. Employees who are not engaged in team chat threads may also be having difficulty managing their time effectively or finding information altogether.
Supervisors will want to keep an eye out for workers who have not changed their communication rhythms per se but have become less likely to speak up during meetings. Also, it is worth to have regular catch-up with direct reports to check-up how they are doing, not just work wise, to ensure they are OK.
3. REPETITIVE QUESTIONS
Workers who are experiencing poor time management and stress may ask the same questions over and again. Feeling strained by expectations and not in control of your work makes it harder to process information well, sometimes leading to repeating questions or asking for the same directions on projects. If an employee is doing this, it is a good opportunity to ask how they are feeling about their work and if they need resources to perform better and alleviate their stress.
4. REDUCED OUTPUT OR QUALITY OF WORK
Employees whose work output becomes less consistent or whose quality of work is not what it was may be struggling. This can be more difficult to identify in new employees, but supervisors will be familiar with the working habits of team members who have been around for at least several months. Before work output or quality suffers, an even earlier sign a remote employee is poorly managing their time is a noticeable change in attitude about work. This usually precedes a reduction in deliverables and quality.
5. DIFFICULTIES WITH SHARING DELIVERABLES
An employee who is pushing back on project schedules and delivery dates may be having time management issues. Supervisors should also be on alert for employees who keep pushing back soft due dates.
6. TAKING MORE TIME OFF
One of the bigger signs any employee is becoming stressed is an uptick in taking time off. There may be more sick time or personal time usage because the employee is feeling overwhelmed.
SOLUTION? HAVE A PLAN FOR BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT
Managers who learn the signs a remote employee is poorly managing their time and are feeling overburdened will be better equipped to address this issue when it arises. Developing an intervention plan for employees struggling with time management can not only get the most from employees, but it can improve team cohesion and employee attitudes about their work. A well-prepared management team with strong soft skills in handling employee relationships can work wonders in getting everyone on board in collectively managing their time and hitting deliverables.
Of course, even better than responding to time management problems in the workforce is being a step ahead and preventing problems in advance.
Training on time management and time management technologies can make all the difference for employees who have difficulty meeting deadlines and juggling responsibilities. Time management training can also boost the abilities of employees who do not have problems with time management, making them even more efficient.
If you are interested, check out our internationally renowned Time Management course, Prioritise to Work Effectively: WorkingSmart to help your team gain back control of their workloads and keep the stress at bay.
Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.
Click Here to learn more about how Priority can help you and your team Work Smart, develop essential management skills and the competencies to....make life and work better and happier!
This blog has been sourced by Priority Management International and edited by Priority Management London.