Managers and team leads are finding it difficult to lead employees well without the ability to monitor employees in a shared office space continuously. Managers are discovering that they might have to loosen up to see high productive results while still holding all employees accountable.They also must become familiar with remote best practices and expect a certain amount of trial and error. Here are 5 tips for managing remote employees:
- Create clear communication guidelines
Communication in work from home environments aims to connect employees operating from all over the work. Thanks to the internet, there are tons of communication tools to help connect your company and bridge the distance within a few clicks. Your first step in creating communication guidelines is stating what hours are the best to reach each other and expect real-time responses. Calendar tools are an excellent visual way to streamline all schedules for optimal productivity. Also, communicating and getting feedback on how employees feel about what communication tools and channels improve their work from home experience is essential to improving the overall communication. Some of this feedback can tell you when and when not people want a video call to be used and how often people want to communicate with each other.
Remember that every communication feature you try to implement means another notification for your employees. The more communication tools you use, the more noise and tools your employees will have to get used to. Don’t try to overdo it and stress them out. Some overall general communication guidelines are aiming for short and direct sentences rather than confusing verbatim, providing context, and being mindful in your tone. Effective communication while working from home can do so much more than helping you and your team get projects done seamlessly. It will also make you feel like you are an integral part of your team.
- Trust that your staff is up to the task
Work from home offers flexibility to employees, which means you should also have some flexibility in managing time and resources. Move on from the 9 to 5 mindset and recognize that the world has moved on to different approaches to work. By trusting your employees, you give them a chance to take accountability for their workload and progress. This is great for developing a schedule and seeing how they work best. Work will be at its highest quality while maintaining a better work-life balance for all employees and yourself. Forcing someone to work the way you think they should be working will only grow disdain and decrease productivity. Of course, there might be instances where you have to step in if work is not being done, but generally, overstepping will not lead to great outcomes for both parties. If you can’t trust your employees to work flexibly, then there will never be a chance for them to be trusted with confidential business information and other details that may require their feedback.
- Gather and give feedback
Always make time for feedback during team meetings. A great feedback culture doesn’t happen naturally—it must be intentionally designed. Set aside time to check in with your remote employees. Regular one-on-one meetings might not be necessary, depending on your leadership role. However, one-on-one meetings via phone call or video call are the best way to get someone to give you their feedback directly, especially if you go into it with questions ready. During the first week of work, after a break, or when you feel it is needed, create an outline that formalizes team expectations and norms while also giving employees a chance to contribute to it. It is also essential to provide feedback and recognition to your team. Highlight success and repeatedly say that feedback is always welcome at the company.
- Promote inclusion
Resources and other offerings paid by the company to ensure all employees with diverse needs are being accommodated should be reviewed to fit work from home environments. Ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, is set up to contribute their best thinking and work to organizational success requires understanding how each employee is experiencing inclusion. Quarantined employees, employees with disabilities, employees with kids, etc. may require new and different support now that their work is being done at home. All company leaders should be compassionate, try to understand their employees’ challenges, and respond to promote inclusion.
- Get the team together physically annually or bi-annually
Meeting face-to-face as a group is an ideal way to team-build and mingle in a non-professional setting. These meetups should be paid for to include all employees and not leave people out who might not be able to afford the travel. These meetups should be designed to bond people together and create meaningful connections. This is also a great time to redefine the term’s goals and values. Other activities can be exploring whatever city the meetup takes place in, volunteering together, ice breaker activities, sharing gratitude for one another, etc. Spending time with the team face-to-face is invaluable. It allows remote employees to get to know each other beyond their job roles.
Remote workers can be just as productive as in-office employees, if not more so. As a leader, it is your role to educate yourself and lead them towards a path of success. For more remote work information visit bettsrecruiting.com.