Designing effective OKRs for your remote team in 2022

Working remotely should not be a hurdle in accomplishing your OKRs. Learn with us how to manage and set effective OKRs for your remote teams in 2022.

“The workplace, in future, is going to be hybrid” – this is the fact that the last two years have made clear to all the businesses. The increasing trend of remote work is not a trend anymore. It’s a fully-realized mode of working.

Since the workplace is changing, the framework used for planning and monitoring the work is going to change too. Today, managers can’t expect the employees to be present in the close confines of the office where they can assign and track their work in a time-bound fashion.

Hence for this hybrid workplace or a purely remote workplace, a dynamic and more flexible framework is required for goal-setting and progress-tracking. This is where the OKR framework of goal setting fits in perfectly. In essence, OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal-setting framework that divides any project into a few objectives that are focused and aligned to the project’s end goal. And these objectives are then divided into 2-3 actionable and quantifiable steps called key results.

But before implementing OKRs as your primary goal-setting framework for your remote team, there are some key points that you should keep in mind that will help you understand and manage your remote team well. These are -

1. Remote teams need work that is compartmentalized.

Since people are working away and independent of each other the work must be divided into modules that are manageable by each individual independently. This is easier said than done. But it can be done by removing the hierarchical dependency of workflows – in which a task goes through many stages of approval. Also, creating a pipeline of tasks in which members can work parallelly, not sequentially is also preferable. In short, if the employees are now decoupled from their workspaces, then their work should also be decoupled from their workspaces.

2. Remote teams need efficient collaboration.

Let's admit it. Zoom meetings are not fun. All video conferencing meetings suffer from unavoidable technical lags and glitches. On top of that, the conversation itself feels clunky and unnatural. Hence, the need for this artificial collaboration needs to be minimized. A morning-huddle meet is a perfect solution for this, in which everyone is given clear instructions on their daily tasks at one go. You can follow it with an optional evening status-meet at the end of the day. Any emergency conversation can be done quickly over office messenger apps, if at all required.

3. Remote teams need better time management.

The flexibility offered in remote work can be a boon or a bane. On one hand, employees have the liberty to work anytime, throughout the day which can increase their productivity. On the other hand, this individual flexibility can prove to be troublesome when the whole team needs to work in sync to deliver a project. A fixed start and end time of the day should be followed. Also, deferring the work to weekends should be avoided, on a personal level. Even if the boundaries of time have disappeared in remote work, maintaining them is good for both the company’s output and the employee’s personal life.

How to set effective OKRs for your remote team?

Now, let’s talk about how to really create goals for your remote team using the OKR framework, while keeping in mind the above points. Following are the guidelines that can help you set effective OKRs for your remote team –

1. Include the whole team in goal setting.

Sometimes managers can be oblivious to how the team members actually execute their tasks at the ground level. By including the entire team’s inputs, you can better gauge the duration and effort required for that particular project. It may also happen that the team members, while brainstorming, can come up with innovative ideas to execute the project that the leaders, in isolation, would not have even thought of.

2. Set objectives that are focused, not broad.

The objectives that you set in your OKRs should divide your project into different manageable parts. These partitions can correspond to your team’s structure, modules of the project, budget allocation, or other such criteria. In other words, all your objectives, when achieved, should lead to the completion of your project.

3. Design key results that are measurable.

Your key results should be measurable, achievable, and specific to the corresponding objective. Avoid overlaps between the key results from different objectives. Keep the number of key results to 2 to 3 in numbers. More than 3 key results can mislead the team members and increase the risk of inclusion of vanity metrics.

4. Review and update the goals.

Timely reviews and updating the goals are necessary to fine-tune your strategy and to keep the project on track. Apart from the weekly status meetings, you can organize monthly meetings to review the OKRs and to update them, if needed.

Setting goals for your team is one thing but when it comes to actual implementation and tracking of the goals you need a sophisticated tool to make it possible. This is where Witsmate can help you immensely. It lets you capture OKRs, track, share, and follow them, and allows check-ins by team members through an easy and simplified interface.

No doubt, remote work is here to stay. Hence adapting to this new work environment is crucial for the success of any organization. And equally crucial is to adopt a dynamic goal-setting framework like OKR to manage your remote team. Incorporating the aforementioned principles in your goal-setting will ensure your remote team’s effectiveness and its perpetual success.