Remote work will continue through 2021. It’s inevitable. Here are a few useful ideas on how to successfully manage your remote employees.
Tip #1: Communicate frequently
The key to remote work is open and transparent communication between employees and managers. If this is the first time your organization is engaging in remote work, managers may not be used to managing their employees virtually. Furthermore, you might not have the right set of tools that enable a smooth remote working experience, nor the experience needed to use them.
Therefore, your first job is to establish structured communication channels, starting with daily check-ins.
These check-ins may take the form of daily team meetings or one-on-one interactions, whatever suits the current needs of your work process. It’s essential to make these check-ins predictable and constant so that employees are assured that they will be heard if they have a problem. Ensure that your employees are clear about their role. Especially how and when their work should be completed.
Learn from the great business giants, such as Dell. Dell’s HR team doesn’t matter where their employees work, as long as they get the job done with the results they want. So, forget about micromanaging.
Tip #2: Use the right tools
To enable transparent and smooth communication, and to manage your remote employees efficiently, you need to have the right technology. Most employees are great at using email and various video-conferencing options. So they won’t find it too hard to adapt to a cyber workplace and collaborative tools that are beneficial for remote working.
There are many great and affordable remote work tools that you can choose from. Some of the best-known tools are Slack, Trello, Microsoft Team and Zoom. These tools are easy to use and have many useful options that will enable quick and efficient cooperation.
Tip #3: Make sure they’re working regular hours
You should also make an engagement policy, and define when work-related communication happens, as well as which tools to use for what purposes. With too many tools around, and communication flowing all the time, you may end up having your employees working 50-60 hours a week with the pressure to complete the task they’re informed about right away. This may lead to some unhealthy habits, such as not taking sensible breaks, not leaving the house, or doing anything meaningful besides work the whole day.
Your employees must not feel as if they are at work all the time, so you have to make a policy where these tools should not be used outside working hours and during the weekends, except in the cases of emergency, which should also be precisely defined.
Tip #4: Encourage social interaction
One of the crucial steps for keeping your staff engaged with their work is by structuring informal social interactions with your remote employees. Such communication can reduce the feelings of social isolation and strengthen the sense of belonging to the organization.
One of the easiest ways is to begin your team meetings with some informal talk, just to catch up with each other. You can also be more creative when it comes to informal communication, and organize a video-conference office party, or virtual hang-outs, whatever you may find appropriate.
Tip #5: Watch out for signs of stress
You may be well equipped to recognize the signs of stress at the workplace. Your employees will be absent from work more often, behave strangely, and their productivity will decrease.
However, when the employees are not within your sight, many signs of stress or burnout may go unnoticed. Especially in times of crisis, with such an unexpected change, they may even start to feel guilty or worried because they are working from home and still not delivering up to the level they’re used to. So watch out for that and take the necessary action needed to keep your employees happy and well while they’re working from home.