Despite all the stress employees experience over deadlines, research shows that teams can avoid deadline stress most of the time. One survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that 95% of employees who asked for a deadline extension received one. Another study of over 10,000 employees and managers found that, on average, deadline extensions were received positively by managers. These studies show that a simple change in perspective will help teams better manage deadlines. While organizations are working remotely, it's important to help employees find healthy ways to deal with deadlines. Check out these 3 techniques remote teams can use to manage deadlines.
Practice Time Estimates
Executing a time estimate is a project management skill that will encourage continuity within your team. By breaking down tasks into requirements and turning the requirements into specific actions, you can get an accurate idea of how long a task will take. Breaking down projects this way makes it much easier to identify potential risks, prioritize important actions and decide who needs to do what to meet the deadline.
Time estimates also help employees avoid overcommitting. Various reasons, such as a desire to impress, can cause employees to overestimate what they can do in a certain time frame. Making time estimates a priority allows teams to develop realistic deadlines that help employees avoid feeling stressed and overwhelmed. A 2018 survey from the Project Management Institute revealed that 25% of the respondents viewed inadequate time estimates as a primary cause of failure for projects within their organization.
Make Recognition A Priority
Jumping from deadline to deadline without recognition for their efforts quickly becomes mentally draining for employees. This mental drain is further enhanced in remote work environments where it's difficult for employees to see the impact of their work. Taking the time to recognize your employees' efforts is a great way to boost morale and help your employees feel appreciated. Recognition and reward is another psychosocial factor that will help your team feel more connected during remote work. Implementing these psychosocial factors into your team is an example of what leaders learn in our Pathways To Success course.
Agree To Clearly Defined Outcomes
Clarity helps create a healthy perspective around pending deadlines for your employees. It's easier for employees to fulfill their duties when they know exactly what's expected of them. In addition to deadlines, teams need to establish exactly what the completed task looks like. By specifying what you expect at each deadline, you can help employees better manage their time.
Clarity is also a factor that contributes to a psychologically healthy workplace. In our updated manual on Managing A Remote Workforce, we look at how clear leadership and expectations impact your team's morale and productivity levels. Clarity helps build internal commitment in employees, which is essential for managing deadlines in a remote work environment where employees have autonomy over their schedules.