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The Increasing Importance of Objectives when Working Remote

Remote work is here to stay, but many leaders are still struggling to meet the challenges of managing remote teams. How do we unify a team that is spread out geographically, divided by screens and headphones? How can we motivate employees who may be losing sight of the big picture? Many have found remote working objectives vital in keeping teams together in a moment when circumstances threaten to tear them apart.

But, goal setting for remote employees doesn’t always come easy. It takes energy, commitment, and accountability to develop the kind of goals that can lead a team through the tough times. If you're struggling with knowing which goals to set or following through with any, you're in the right place! It's our aim to not only share the importance of setting the right OKRs and KPIs in the remote working world but rather, support you as you go through the process.

Unifying Dispersed Teams by Setting Remote Working Objectives

Before we talk about remote work goals, let’s discuss traditional goal setting. Many businesses such as Google, manage Goals with Objectives and Key Results, also known as OKRs. The “Objectives” tell where you need to go and the “Key Results” show you the indicators which will signify that you have arrived. For example, one business objective might be to “improve diversity and inclusion,” and the key results would be to “increase diversity index among leadership to .25.” OKRs help businesses to set priorities and to act as one. As a result, employees know the goals they are working toward and the steps they need to take to get there.

According to a remote work Gartner survey, 82% of company leaders plan to continue allowing remote work after the pandemic. That means that employers who aren’t tailoring their OKRs to suit a remote environment need to seriously rethink their approach. Remote working objectives are the best way to unify a dispersed team and help them work toward a common goal even from afar. We'll get more into the how in the next section...

Connect Employees to the Bigger Picture

While working from home, it may be more difficult for employees to feel connected to the business’s core values. Cut off from regular interactions with colleagues and managers, employees may lack a sense of community. Furthermore, without regular check-ins to see what other members of their team are working on, employees often find it difficult to know what their role is in the bigger picture. As a result, they will likely struggle to effectively organize and prioritize their tasks.

Setting Measurable Goals in a Remote Work Environment

Measurable goals in a remote work environment help guide employee decisions and make employees feel connected to the high-level company goals. Above all, feeling the camaraderie of setting shared work goals, is a key motivator for employees.

In order to lead from afar, employers simply must set specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound goals— SMART goals for remote employees. If you have these goals in place, you won't need to watch over your employees like hawks to ensure they're productive. According to a survey by and.co,  only 93% of respondents didn’t feel they needed a manager present in order to be productive. There you have it, setting SMART goals not only helps employees keep their team in sync and connected, but it eliminates the micromanaging that may otherwise take place if clear and measurable goals weren't set.

The Benefits of Setting Work from Home Goals & Objectives

Help your team focus, prioritize, and produce their best work by setting clear remote working objectives for company-wide goals. To get you started thinking about which remote goals and objectives to set, we've compiled a list of the best team goals examples and how they can benefit and empower your remote team.

Boost Alignment

Setting goals for working from home promotes alignment across the organization— something which teams not used to working remotely may sorely miss. By connecting yearly and quarterly goals with an employee's daily work, setting clear goals for working remotely help to create a sense of investment and shared purpose, which works towards aligning the team. This is vital for employee satisfaction and engagement, which both may be in short supply when workers feel isolated or directionless. Setting work from home goals and objectives helps businesses to continue pursuing impactful changes even when employees are remote.

Cultivate Internal Motivation

Working toward remote work goals doesn’t only help keep you in alignment. It also creates a culture of clear communication, investment, and excitement that can’t be matched. Tracking progress toward business development and growth goals is a great way to motivate employees. Whether you measure success at a company, team, or individual level, celebrating achievements and evaluating shortcomings helps your business to do better in the long run. The best way to motivate remote employees is to empower them with the information they need to reach their own decisions about how to best spend their time. This is especially important when external motivators, such as colleagues and office culture, which often provide accountability, aren’t available. Work from home goal setting provides the tools to prioritize and achieve.

Set a Rhythm

When clear remote work goals are set, we tend to adopt the habit of regular check-ins between individuals and teams to make sure that the work being done is aligned to meet larger objectives. Setting goals for remote workers helps drive better communication and more frequent performance reviews, both of which are important when setting goals for working from home. Remote working objectives can help inspire and frame important conversations as well as structure teamwork.

Without Goal Setting for Remote Teams Employees Suffer

Without goals, while working from home, remote employees may feel disconnected from their work and their peers. They may struggle to see the importance of their daily tasks within the bigger picture of the company’s progress. Workers need to feel connected with the mission of a business in order to put in their best work. Although this is true, perhaps you are concerned that OKRs may be an unnatural way to measure growth. Or, maybe you think that kind of rigidity can harm teams or stress workers. Without clear objectives, it is difficult to see that they are making an impact.

Furthermore, to support your employees as they continue goal setting, remember that it's crucial to periodically stop and evaluate your goals and determine whether they are still in alignment with the needs of your business. Sometimes we keep working toward old goals long after they no longer serve us. Avoid the sunk-cost fallacy! Keep your remote work goals fluid and flexible, and your team won’t suffer from rigidity or stress.

Implementing OKRs: Best Practices for Remote Teams

By now, we hope you see the importance of setting work from home goals for remote employees. The question now, is how to present the new OKRs to the team? We’ll close out by sharing these simple yet effective best practices so you can get started.

Remote Work Best Practices 2021

  • First things first: tell your remote team why you think OKRs will benefit them and help encourage growth in these strange times. For inspiration, see above!
  • Begin with a small number of clearly-defined objectives. Now is not the time to overwhelm employees with a laundry list of every little improvement you would like to see in the next decade. Choose a few key priorities and focus.
  • Align employee OKRs with department and company OKRs. Make sure your goals are supporting the goals of other departments and teams.

Be ready to readjust. Remote working objectives can help keep your team on track, but a strong business must always stay agile and be ready to adapt. OKRs should be inspiring, not burdensome. A lot of things are in flux right now, but with clear goals, employees can more easily navigate in these uncertain times.