10 Essential Tips for Managing Remote Employees

COVID-19 prompted Stay-at-home orders, which created many challenges for managers of the company whose employees work from home. It is difficult for HR’s when the company is performing telework policies for the first time. According to recent research from the society for human resource management, 71% of employers find it challenging to adapt to this new way of working.

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Being an expert at managing remote employees demands a mental leap, especially for traditionally-minded managers. At the very first, business leaders, used to monitoring productivity based upon workers’ “desk time” and visible activity levels, may find a shift to remote work foreign and unwieldy. Employees, too, may feel out of sorts initially as they adjust to significant changes in their days. All this is understandable. Everyone seems to grasp what telecommuting is; not everyone has experienced it yet. And without a doubt, there are pros and cons to working remotely.

Everyone must become familiar with telecommuting best practices and expect a certain amount of trial and error. To help you, here are 10 Essential Tips for Managing Remote Employees that will help you ace your remote job.

One of the most important tips that will help you fetch results is setting prior expectations. It is essential that you provide guidelines, set boundaries, and review the basics. These are among the most important steps to take when setting out your project. There will be questions; be accessible, and clarify priorities, milestones, performance goals, and more. Ensure that you outline each team member’s availability and you can reach them when needed.

All similar as in the workplace, managers should keep workers up-to-date on policy and staffing changes, company successes, and tips for working at home. Also, one should model behavior around the hours employees work, such as building expectations around returning to any after-hours work email and texts.

This is one thing that helps employees maintain a healthy work/life balance and prevents them from burning out. Without the physical separation between home and the office, it can be more common when working from home.

In case you are working with remote teams, the key is to allow flexible hours to maintain consistency. Although a detailed plan is a must, you should be open to adjusting strategies as needed. Whether your employees choose to put in their hours in the morning or evening shouldn’t matter. It is all okay till the moment work gets completed and is of high quality.

What works in the office may not work remotely. Rather than having lengthy meetings, have short virtual huddles. Use this thinking to team resourcing, scheduling, and planning various actions required to produce better results.

It is important that along with tracking your companies’ progress, you must calculate employees’ work progress. Ensure that your employees give you a work schedule, along with tasks they are expected to accomplish within a given time. This will calm your fears and give your team the structure they need to fulfill their role. Know that just because you can’t see them working at their cubicle doesn’t mean work isn’t getting done. Trust the process.

Managers must communicate with their remote staff because it keeps workers notified of deadlines, possible resources, work-related challenges, and managers’ expectations, including work schedules.

Additionally, consider which communication tool best fits the team’s culture; it may be email, texts, phone calls, video chats, an intranet channel, etc. Find that fragile balance between steadily pinging employees with texts and email and radio silence. The frequency of communication may differ among employees.

The best method is to ask employees and understand how they want to be managed while working remotely. That way, managers would be able to keep a pulse on what each and every employee needs to be productive while working from home. Managers must track metrics that matter to their organization and check in with employees; too much oversight can show employees signs of mistrust. In case your employees are communicating transparently and meeting goals and deadlines, there is nothing you need not to trust.

Remember listening is as important as talking your heart out. It is one thing that results in effective communication. The most successful directors are good listeners, communicate trust and respect, question workload and progress without micromanaging, and fail on the side of over-communicating.

Surveys are an often-underutilized tool. A monthly or quarterly employee net promoter score can be helpful, along with pulse surveys for a deeper dive into employee sentiments. According to HR Technologist, the net promoter score is an indicator of how likely an employee would be to promote his or her organization to other job seekers. Do not forget in case you’re asking for feedback from our employees; you need to do something about it.

Several workers feel lonely and disoriented in this new work reality. That’s why it’s crucial to develop connections with employees. Share positive feedback, open a fun chat channel, or try and grab a coffee together. Use whatever helps you maintain a sense of normality and solidarity and reminds everyone they’re not an island working alone. This will definitely support their mental health. Think about different ways of building connections with remote workers. Have emotional and direct contact with everyone. It has had a substantial positive impact. Note that good managers make themselves available to team members. They go above and beyond to maintain an open-door policy for remote employees, making themselves available across multiple time zones and through various technological means. Remote employees can always count on their manager to respond to pressing concerns.

Implementing a shared document that tracks work activities is one-way managers can stay notified of their teams. It is a good exercise, even when teams are in the office. This is something that will help managers refine their expectations and responsibilities of employees in this uncertain period.

Also, agree as a team on acceptable behavior for virtual collaboration, such as how quickly to respond to colleagues’ messages. Is it okay, to send a quick note to say “I’ll call you back” in case you are focused intensely on something else when a co-worker reaches out?

It is normal to have the urge to micromanage things when working remotely. You do not have to be looking over your team’s shoulders while they are in the office, so you shouldn’t have to do it when they are remotely working, either. Regular one-on-one check-ins will help managers avoid micromanaging while still enabling them to keep a pulse on employees and present them with an opportunity to ensure feedback goes both ways. Trust that in case they communicate clearly and meet goals and deadlines, your employees are being productive and doing their jobs effectively. There is nothing to worry about. Do not add unrequired stress to your life.

It is important to celebrate every small win in case you want to stay motivated remotely. It is highly recommended that managers should also look for chances to observe the same work milestones that one would celebrate in the office. Employees might have to switch out their high-five for a virtual elbow bump for the time being.

Recognize its employees with videos that celebrate workers’ contributions. These videos will appear on the company website, replacing the recognition that would have taken place at the company’s annual retreat, which was canceled because of the pandemic. It feels a lot more personal than an email and shows that if you get creative, the connection does not have to be lost.

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