With the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies had to quickly implement work-from-home policies. It certainly is an adjustment for all parties involved.
Remote employee management can feel like a totally different challenge than managing people you work side by side with. Things that work in an office don’t always translate exactly to remote employees.
Here are a few tips to best manage your workforce from a distance.
1-Keep making small talk
When managing remote employees, it’s easy to just talk about what needs to get done and jump off your call, end your chat, and get back to executing.
However, if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on a critical part of management.
Build rapport with every member of your team. Rapport is what will help you work through problems each team member may have, trust they can come to you with things important to them, and give you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake or an unpopular decision.
Demonstrating that you care is important to them and essential for you to truly understand their motivations. Taking the time to do this will also make them like working for you more. Don’t just talk about work. For example, ask them about their family and how they’re managing during these uncertain times.
2- Have longer one-on-one conversations
The best way to handle this is to give remote employees a full hour every week -more if necessary!- on your calendar for one on ones. This ensures you can cover a variety of topics and really dive into issues that aren’t covered because they’re not in the office for ad hoc discussions.
Don’t cancel these conversations! It can be easy to be swept by a deadline or some other matter, but cancelling one-on-one appointments is the best way to build resentment on your team.
3- Use video as much as possible
More than half of communication is non verbal.
Whether you’re gauging your employees’ reaction to a change in plans, or just trying to judge their overall mood that day, video tells you way more than an audio-only call, or a chat, will ever reveal.
4- Establish a culture of responsibility and accountability
The best place to start here is always with you. You’re the example that your team will look to emulate. When you say you’re going to do something, do you come through? Do you hold your employees accountable for their results?
Your employees are still employees. They haven’t become freelancers because they’re working from home. Your company’s policies and procedures still apply to them.
You need to trust them, yet you also need to verify their work. Yes, it is a delicate balance between leading and micro-managing.
Unfortunately, remote working isn’t for everyone. If someone is not particularly reliable in your office, there’s very little chance that it will improve remotely.
5- Praise and recognition
Don’t forget to recognize your employees’ contributions! This can be easily overlooked. And also, don’t forget their career plans and development. As mentioned above, your employees are not temporary freelancers.
Ensuring they make progress on their goals for growth and understand the career paths available avoids confusion or frustration.
With much of the world being asked to work from home as we try to beat Coronavirus, suddenly managers and employees alike are scrambling to be productive and work well remotely.
If you’re in this situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We can definitely assist you.