5 Tips For Managing Your Remote Employees
Prior to the events transpiring in 2020, working remotely was on the rise. The beauty of more and more businesses having remote operations is that the infrastructure is already there to help your team succeed. The skill set of managing remote employees is something that needs to be honed and developed, though. Here’s a few steps you can take as a manager to support your remote employees through times of trial and transition.
Working remotely can be a very lonely and isolating experience, especially in current circumstances. As a manager of remote employees, this is the first thing you want to consider. How are you going to ensure that your employees feel connected and stimulated when they are at home? Socializing is a huge part of being content at a work and being happy at your job directly correlates to your performance. As a manager, you’ll want to do what you can to engage your team whenever possible. Video conferencing - whether for status meetings, planning, or even just morning coffee or afternoon happy hour - is a great way to ensure your team feels connected to one another and the company.
The next hurdle you’ll need to overcome as a manager of remote employees is the inevitable communication issues that will arise. There’s a number of challenges that can occur when you’re not face-to-face in regards to communication. From not being able to see non-verbal cues to timeliness of responses and updates, everyone on your team needs to approach the remote environment with the same mindset. Always assume positive intent when communicating with your team, whether via phone, email, or video conference. Additionally, make a concentrated effort to understand. When you don’t, ask questions with that goal in mind. So much of our communication is done through visual and auditory processing. When those elements of communication are eliminated, you’ll need to work harder to understand one another’s needs.
Make Your Availability Clear
Often, managers approach their leadership style with the idea of an “open door policy.” When your team is remote, it’s challenging to actually follow through with that concept because no one can really tell when you are or aren’t available. This means that, as a manager of remote employees, you’ll want to make a concerted effort to make your availability clear. Share a calendar that clearly shows when you’re not available and update it rigorously. When calls get scheduled last minute or other things come up that would take you away from your phone or computer, update that calendar so your employees know you cannot be reached at that moment. This transparency not only instills good will in your employees but it also makes communication with the leadership team much more efficient for everyone. Ultimately, it comes down to making time for your employees and ensuring they feel like they have access to you when they need it.
Offer Support To Develop Routines That Work
For many businesses, working remotely is not part of the regular routine. Moreover, it’s not often that professionals are working remotely when their kids and spouses are also home. The current economic climate creates some compounding challenges when trying to become efficient in a new environment. Offer support to your team when they are working through the challenges that come from being in an entirely new environment, especially for your employees who have children at home. Children don’t understand the magnitude of what’s going on and it can be confusing to them to have mom or dad at home, but not available to them. Recognize that your employees are trying to do what’s best for their family and your company and offer support, guidance, and strategies that can help them do exactly that.
Keep The Team Spirit Alive
Another thing you can do to keep your employees engaged with the company is sending custom-branded swag to them at home. Even if you work in an industry that wouldn’t normally have a uniform, sending t-shirts with your logo on them are a great way to make your team feel valued and connected. This gives you the opportunity to increase your brand awareness in an authentic way, as well as supporting your local print shops in a down time.
Managing Remote Employees For Maximum Productivity
A work-from-home order doesn’t mean the demise of your company if you’re strategic about it. As a manager of remote employees, you have a role to play in ensuring your team is set up for success when they’re working from home.
If you’re looking for support while operating your business from home, contact the business experts at Portocol to learn more about our virtual business coaching solutions.