Your remote work life is here to stay, that means that you’ll be working in cozy shirts and shorts until at least until the end of the summer, but it also means you'll be accountable to your colleagues (and your boss) in ways you might not be accustomed to when it comes to communication, time, and setting priorities.
Accountability means being aware of your part in the company: you meet your deadlines, you’re available during working hours for teammates, and you communicate proactively and often. While you might not be going into the office, how you show up to work matters, perhaps more than ever.
Little did you know that nosey coworker who always stood over your desk and asked what you were working on, was holding you accountable. Accidentally making eye-connect with your boss across the room was also holding you accountable. Physically being around other teammates? Yep! Accountability. So what’s virtual accountability look like? Let’s take a look!
Review What You Did Yesterday, Then Hold Yourself Accountable
Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side list your working hours i.e. 1PM, 1:30PM, 2PM, 2:30PM, then on the right side write down what you were supposed to be working on.
Then take a red pen and write beside it everything you actually did, like doodle in your meeting notes instead of actively listening.
That piece of paper in your hand is you holding yourself accountable, says Medium Writer Nikals Goke, in his article “How To Hold Yourself Accountable With A Simple Tool” This process can also be called evaluation, and it’s a really important aspect of holding yourself accountable.
Inc.com says, “If you have a goal you are trying to accomplish, set aside time each day to not only work on your goal but to understand your progress.” It helps for you to be aware of what working structure gets the best results for you. Reviewing your progress paints a picture of how to maximize your working time to getting through the day more efficiently. Or rather, to pin-point where exactly you lost focus and how you can do better tomorrow.
Processing your day is holding yourself accountable, says Inc.com.
Try Using “Feedback” To Help Inspire Your Team To Be Accountable For Each Other
Place yourself in a position where you’re inviting your coworkers/team to give you feedback frequently, but also giving constructive feedback to your team on the regular. It’s an endearing and proactive way to let your team know you’re invested in their work and listening to their input.
The Corporate Finance Institute says that constructive feedback can boost employee morale. If you’ve been struggling to get your team working cohesively, it might be time to set up a feedback chat. Transparency and open communication can do wonders for your company's culture. The Management Center gives these important pointers on structuring a feedback friendly culture within your company*:
- First, bring up the idea of creating a feedback friendly work culture.
- Let your team know the feedback system you will come up with (a group chat, email chain, Sack, Zoom, etc.) is not meant to be a personal attack or used to personally attack other teammates.
- Ask everyone to wait for several minutes to respond if the feedback is particularly stressful. If people react too negatively to feedback it might discourage others from sharing.
- Make sure the team and management understand everyone will be giving and receiving feedback, it’s a two way street. Give some examples of feedback your team could give management to make them more comfortable.
Virtual Coworking Could Help You Launch Your Brand And Stay Accountable For Your Goals
Remember when we said we had a special suggestion for our freelancers out there? Well here it is, one of the internet's biggest secrets: virtual coworking. Yes, it’s exactly like it sounds, you show up digitally and you’re connected with a stranger whose very presence is supposed to keep you on track. Similar to Omegle and Chatroulette, but without all the weird stuff. Companies like Focus Mate and My Work Hive, help connect you to other co-workers and offer other perks as well. Sometimes you just need someone else's presence enforcing what you’re supposed to be doing.
Some Quick Last Pointers On Accountability
If you dropped the ball, own it.
Communicate if you missed a deadline, a meeting with a client didn’t go well, etc. Don’t blame others and don’t make excuses. If you work for yourself, give yourself a talk: Yes I missed an opening there, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. What can I do differently next time?
Didn’t understand your role? Speak up.
Save some time. Rather than being nervous asking someone to explain themselves again, ask right then and there. That’s being accountable for yourself so you can get to work with all the information you need to get the job done right the first time.
So, as you go forward into the great abyss that is remote working ( i.e. Slack, Zoom, passive aggressive email chains, and Asana) don't hesitate to reach out to a co-worker and say, "hey, can you be my accountability partner?"
Try out new planners, get a cork board, hang up a motivating quote and get to work.
BCRX Content Writer, Klarrisa Arafa