Remote working is becoming increasingly common. As well as offering greater flexibility and autonomy for employees, it can also pose some challenges for leaders, who can struggle to gain a secure trust level with their remote employees. Effectively managing remote workers is crucial if you, your employees, and your team are to succeed and achieve your best. Here are 6 top tips to help you manage your remote workforce more successfully.
1. Establish Clear Expectations
It’s important to set clear expectations as early on as possible. State clearly how often employees need to update you and whether they need to get in touch at the start or end of their workday. Establish clear working-from-home guidelines, including sharing calendars and establishing set working hours to help create a healthy work-life balance.
2. Communicate And Engage Regularly
It’s essential that all members of your team have a clear understanding of how quickly they are expected to respond to emails, texts, or groups chats during their working hours. Moreover, all of your team members should know which type of communication to use for different purposes.
“Establish a communication code as early on as possible,” says Ruth Norton, a Project Manager at Writemyx and Next coursework. “For example, you may expect employees to communicate primarily via email and respond within 24 hours, but use text or calls for emergencies. It’s also useful to keep a record of communication processes, such as meetings, and share these with your remote workers so they have access to all the information in a timely manner.”
3. Schedule Weekly Team Meetings
Team meetings are an important opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. Most importantly however, they allow for team members to build connections, which will facilitate their working relationships. Furthermore, they also allow employees to exchange ideas and clarify project details. Aim to schedule a team meeting with all your workers at least once a week.
4. Focus On Goals Rather Than Activity
One of the most appealing aspects of remote working is the autonomy that it provides. However, some leaders assume that because their employee isn’t in the office, they are not working.
“Avoid micromanaging your remote employees. This will lead to distrust from both parties and cause you both undue stress. Ultimately, the key is to measure goals and whether they are being met, rather than measuring activity. As long as all your employees are completing their work to the standard you expect, the way in which they work is irrelevant. However, it’s equally important to be aware of any remote employee who starts to fall behind in their work or its quality and to address that promptly,” says Daniel Simpson, a team lead at Brit student and Australia 2 write.
5. Schedule Individual Meetings
Often remote employees can feel isolated and undervalued. In order to avoid this, make sure that you schedule regular one-to-one conversations with your remote employees. Ensure that you set aside a good portion of time, of at least half an hour, where your employees can discuss their work, ideas, concerns, and aspirations with you. Checking in daily with remote employees, even by simply sending an email or instant message, can help build trust and make your employees feel involved and valued.
6. Build A Virtual Community
If you have certain traditions which you do in your office, then make sure that you find a way to extend these to your remote employees as well using virtual means. Whether it’s a birthday, retirement, or milestone celebration, encourage your remote employees to attend virtually as well and share in the experience via a video call. Similarly, find alternative ways for remote workers to engage socially with other team members during breaks or lunches to help build a sense of community and belonging. For example, through an alternative messaging app for informal exchanges or a scheduled virtual coffee break.
Establishing clear expectations for productivity and communication are essential when leading any team, but particularly so if you have remote employees. Make sure that you communicate regularly with them, both as a whole team as well as individually. Finally, find ways to make all your remote employees feel valued and part of the team by creating opportunities to engage with one another.
About the Author
Katrina Hatchett is a regular blogger at Write my literature review and a successful writer for Origin Writings. She has been involved in numerous business projects, where she enjoys working with clients to identify project problems and find creative and innovative solutions to these. Above all, Katrina is passionate about improving the effectiveness of our communication, both within business and in our personal interactions. A writer for Dissertation writing service blog, Katrina enjoys reading and keeping up-to-date with technological developments in her spare time.