How to More Effectively Manage Remote Employees
Managing remote employees for the first time may be intimidating but any challenges faced are easily overcome with the right tools and best practices.
When managing remote employees it is important to incorporate best practices to keep a strong company culture and high employee engagement for yourself and your employees. In doing so, it will help to develop a strong
The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams
Whether it is your first time managing remote workers or you have managed remote teams for many companies throughout your career, there are initial challenges that all business professionals should consider.
The challenges of managing remote teams can be greatly reduced by using best practices and the right tools whether you are a small business manager or a manager for many companies across the world. Challenges of managing remote teams may include-
1. Communication roadblocks- The greatest obstacle to managing remote employees is creating communication best practices through technology. Traditional office employees have the benefit of seeing their manager every day in person while remote employees do not.
Thankfully, there is a very easy and effective solution to this problem. Managers must find the right tools for their employees to communicate with them and one another. Provide regular one on one meetings with individual team members and make sure employees know your video call availability to increase employee engagement.
Real-time screen sharing for team meetings can successfully take place regardless of the time zones individual team members live in. Try to engage remote workers through video conferencing whenever possible, as much of communication is through body language cues.
2. Time tracking and project management issues- A major worry is that if a manager is not able to see their team members that they will not be able to effectively manage remote employee time tracking and productivity levels. However, many remote workers are intrinsically motivated and work much longer hours than their office counterparts.
Using time tracking applications initially can help ease the mind of managers who are in charge of remote workforce operations. Remember, project management best practices are not based on how busy your employee may appear to be or what hours they log, but instead on analyzing output and work done well.
3. Company culture- Working remotely decreases the everyday interactions that in-person employees have with one another. However, remote teams can establish an outstanding company culture if they are given proper collaboration tools and learn to work well with others despite the distance.
Provide team-building opportunities virtually and encourage team members that work remotely to use video conferencing whenever possible. Even if employees are in different time zones it is helpful to have everyone come together at least once a year to get to know each other in person.
How to Properly Manage Remote Employees
If you are feeling intimidated about managing remote teams you are far from alone. Nearly 71% of employers report that they struggle the first time they manage remote teams. Thankfully there are many best practices for properly managing remote employees including-
1. Create a company culture of community- When team members do not see each other every day they may initially struggle. Many people are so socialized to working in a traditional office space that remote workers feel isolated if they are not provided the right tools to stay connected.
Find creative ways to create collaboration in your company culture by setting clear expectations about how employees should communicate. Team building opportunities and regular team meetings are still essential for managers to provide employees.
A remote workforce should be given all of the collaboration tools necessary to work together across different time zones and with varying schedules. Regular one on one check ins and video calls will help employees feel connected and decrease long term feelings of isolation.
2. Project management for remote employees- Managing remote teams does not have to feel impossible. When managing remote workersmake sure to provide clear expectations and regular check ins throughout a project.
Set boundaries with employees regarding when you will be available and expect them to be available on collaboration tools and social media platforms. Clear expectations about what tasks are responsible for and by when these tasks will be completed will keep employees on track and make project management much easier.
3. Be flexible- Many people enjoy the flexibility of working remotely but they may need some time to adjust to their new schedules. Perhaps your team member figures out they are most effective working late nights as opposed to the traditional 9-5 workday. Or, an employee in a different time zone may be completing tasks at unconventional hours.
While time tracking is focal in traditional workspaces, it is not as important for managers to monitor when managing remote workers because of the flexibility that remote work allows. Many people are more productive when they are allowed to take more frequent breaks and get work done by a deadline but at their own pace.
Instead of focusing on time tracking and micromanaging, you will have more free time to work on the tasks you need to get done. As long as employees are meeting deadlines, it is not at all important at what time in the day they get work done.
Being flexible is the top quality of a successful remote manager and the benefits that your employees will experience, ranging from an increased work life balance to higheremployee engagement will be well worth the potential initial discomfort you feel.