Remote work has presented challenges for both workers and their companies. Challenges include adopting flexible schedules and conducting video interviews. However, managing a team of remote workers can be a challenge, but it can also be a rewarding experience for both the employer and employees. With the right strategies in place, it is possible to effectively manage and support a team of remote workers. Here are some tips for managing remote workers:
1. Clearly Communicate Expectations
It’s important to make sure that remote workers know what is expected of them and how their role fits into the overall goals of the company. Regular meetings and clear, concise communication are best for providing expectations. When explaining your anticipations, whether verbally or written, use simple language, short instructions, and concrete examples. Anticipate potential problems and emphasize actions that are acceptable and ones that aren’t. So as not to appear negative, maybe include a few anticipated positives too.
2. Set Regular Check-ins
Scheduling regular check-ins with remote workers can help to ensure that they are on track with their work and address any concerns they may have. They also make up for the emotional gap left from the absence of face-to-face communication. The non-verbal cues we get from personal interactions are critical to building trust, empathy, and understanding, even in a professional relationship. Regular check-ins help make up for this deficient.
3. Keep Meetings Short
Employees can’t maximize remote work benefits if they spend too much time in lengthy online meetings. They might as well be at the office. Set a start and stop time and stick to it. One easy way to do this is to set a timer on your phone or your Windows Clock app. Better yet, use the free version of Zoom conference calling, which limits a call to forty minutes. The service will pop up a reminder that your meeting is about to end so you can wrap up your discussion. Also, use a meeting agenda with bullet points to keep the meeting on track.
4. Shift to a Results-based Appraisal
Your employees’ workflows will inevitably change with remote work. It’s just the nature of remote work for more time to be spent on other things like family responsibilities during “normal” work hours. Besides, the whole appeal of remote work is that workers can have a healthier work-life balance. So, shift your appraisal from the “correct” process, to goals and results. Dedicated, honest workers will find the shortest distance from A to B in their new workflow. Let them find their way. Ask yourself “Are they delivering results?” If the answer is “Yes”, then base your appraisal more on that fact rather than how unorthodox or non-traditional the approach to the work may seem.
5. Provide support
It is important to make sure that remote workers have the resources and support they need to be successful in their role. This can include access to training and development opportunities, as well as any necessary equipment or software. Create virtual “happy hours” or other informal events to build relationships.
6. React to Signs of Stress
Change is hard. Adjusting to a new workflow is a major change for employees. New problems crop up, along with opportunities. The stress may be overwhelming at time. Be sensitive to signs of over-work or excessive stress. Stressed workers may seem more argumentative, report more sick time, or complain more. Identify signs quickly so you can make changes. Check in regularly and facilitate an honest and open dialogue so workers aren’t afraid to tell you about problems.
In addition to these tips, there are a few best practices that can help to ensure the success of a remote team. For one, it is important to establish a process for tracking and managing work. This can include using project management software or creating clear, actionable to-do lists to ensure that work is completed efficiently and effectively.
Also, it’s critical to provide regular feedback to remote workers. This can help to keep them motivated and engaged, as well as provide opportunities for growth and development.
Managing a team of remote workers can be a challenge, but with the right strategies in place, it’s easy to ensure success for workers and the company. By following these tips, employers can create a positive and productive work environment for their remote team members.