11 Essential Tips for Managing Remote Employees
Leading and managing remote employees calls for adapting a new skill.
As Alex Turn Bull said,
Successfully working from home is a skill. just like programming, designing, or writing. It takes time and commitment to develop that skill.
As exciting and trendy the ‘work from home’ tag sounds, as tricky and difficult it can get in reality, if not managed efficiently.
With the advancement in technology and on going pandemic, the ratio of remote employees is increasing per day. No doubt, remote employees are more dedicated, innovative and productive. But managing remote employees and keeping them in the loop can be quite a task, if you are new to the process.
But we will take you through the process and hand you over some golden tips, that will help you in building trust and coordinating your remote team. Before we dig into that, lets first interpret the challenges that comes with managing remote employees.
Challenges of managing remote employees
Before you begin managing your remote team, you need to analyse the challenges you and your team might face. You need to put yourself in their place. Observe their part of story.
This will help you in taking steps, that are in favour of both the parties. And will effect the productivity of work in the long run. Here are two of the many challenges faced usually in managing remote employees.
Tracking down remote employees
As a manager, Working from your office cabin, and keeping a check and balance on your team is not difficult. With a glance at their tables you know what the work progress is. But managing remote employees is not that easy. You probably hire people from around the world, so keeping track of their individual work is not handy.
But the thing that matters the most is the productivity rate your employee is showing. If your team provides you with regular, high standard work on time then you don’t necessarily have to get on their nerves. But that also does not mean to leave them on their own. You can keep a track of their work through different team management software. Here are a few examples:
Communication is the key to a good team work. There are many communication platforms which can be used for regular coordination and communication between the team. Your team mates might prefer different solutions.
But as the manager, you should put forward some rules and policies, that should not be violated. Like setting schedule for regular meetings, video calls, presentations etc. This will help in bringing everyone on board on regular basis.
11 Essential tips for managing remote employees
Now when you got an overview of some of the challenges, lets dig into the solutions and tips for managing remote employees.
1. Practice small talk/show concern
Just don’t act robotic with your employees. You need to show some emotions and humanity with your employees. This will help you in gaining the trust of your employees. They will be able to come up to you and discuss their problems about work and otherwise too. Which will help you in knowing their work status and productivity rate.
When you give your employees a little edge they need they give you standard work in return. Who does not appreciate a little concern? Show concern about their life and family and all the regular things in general, so they show responsibility towards your work in response.
2. Build trust and responsibility
People usually don’t initiate work from home idea, because they are sceptical about their employees. But the key to receiving standard work from remote employees is to build trust and sense of responsibility.
When you will make sure to your workers that they are trusted and are a good source to the company. They will automatically try to come up to your expectations by producing quality work on time.
3. Meet in person once in a while
Having a remote team means people from around the world, or people from around the city. You never know. But the thing that matters is that when you get to see a person in real life. Your whole perspective about them changes.
It is obvious as you barely get to know a person fully over the internet. So if its possible, plan meetups in person at least once or twice a year. So your team mates get to know each other better.
4. Schedule video calls/engage
Video calls brings everyone on board. Everyone sees a document, a file, a project together. And this initiate feeling of working together on the same page. This is essential, as you don’t want any of your employee to feel left out.
Video calls give you the chance to keep a track on your employees. You get a glance of their visual view which is far better than voice calls. It also gives you opportunities to point out problems that might need to be solved. You can use different sites like Skype, Zoom , Meet for hosting video calls.
5. Make brainstorming easy
Sitting on a table and looking towards a whiteboard or a screen. Then discussing and brainstorming on a project can be easy. But doing the same over the internet needs some extra effort.
You would have to make sure that all your employees are comfortable so they can bring out their best. For that it is necessary to look for good online tools that will help your team to put forward their ideas.
6. Keep in mind employees convenience while scheduling
While hiring remote employees, you should be clear with the inconvenience that might come along. Your remote team might belong from different areas around the world. One might be working from Europe and the other from Asia or Australia. The time difference in these continents is insane. It would be 3 am, in one part of the world and 6 pm in the other.
Now as the manager it is your responsibility to balance the inconvenience in different schedules. You can give ease to one person at a time, or to people that belong to the same time zone. This way no one will have to be the sacrificing pillar. Everyone will equally give out their part.
7. Consider their goals along with your work
Remote employees are nowhere less than office going employees. And that is why you should treat both equally. Remote employees should not be considered as freelancers or part time workers. Rather they should be given equal financial benefits.
Along with that their goals and growth should be also kept in mind. They equally deserve promotions and development chances.
8. Add remote employees to your conference/meetings
As mentioned above, keeping all your employees in loop is important. Suppose your are hosting a conference in your office, and suddenly you require a 3rd opinion. Rather than calling up another employee from the office and neglecting the remote ones, call one of your remote employee and give them a chance too.
9. Don’t overburden
Being remote does not mean you can increase the workload. Treat remote as local and part of your regular workers. Plan and prepare a schedule for the week. Keep the quantity fair so your outcome does not get effected.
Talk, communicate with your employees. Ask them what suits them and tell them what suits you. Team work and specially remote team work needs a lot of mutual understanding and coordination. So don’t compromise on that.
10. Encourage one-on-one conversations
Managing remote employees demands for some extra efforts. unlike the other workers remote workers don’t visit the office daily so its possible they might need some extra hours to catch up.
Therefore its better to take out time for individual employee, where you update them with the daily, or weekly progress. And they share their queries and concerns with you. This way you(manager) and your team will be on the same page.
11. Be transparent with your remote employees
Every company has their own policies, their own way of work and the whole process in general is unique. As the manager, its your responsibility to set out your expectations from the workers in the beginning. So there are no misconceptions later.
Put forward your demands, your policies, the Do’s and Don’ts beforehand. Make your workers clear about your point of you. On the other side, make your way approachable too for your workers. So they can come up to you anytime with their concerns.
While managing remote employees, your goal should be to bring out the best in your team. You can do that by providing opportunities, appreciating and highlighting their work and efforts.
Neglect the social distance and welcome risks and initiatives that will bring productivity and confidence in your work.
Empathise, support and build a bond with your employees. Consider them your company’s valuable asset so they hold themselves responsible for your success, in return.
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