15 Tips to Manage Remote Employees Who Work From Home
Stay-at-home orders generated by COVID-19 are providing a difficulty for managers at a time when many organisations are introducing telework rules for the first time. Almost three-quarters of companies (71%) are having problems adjusting to telework as a style of operation.
To effectively manage remote employees who work from home, managers may need to loosen their reins a little while still holding employees accountable.
Employees in a shared office space may achieve success by focusing on the tasks at hand while maintaining high quality standards.
Virtual work that is successful pivots in response to a pandemic, or whether it is planned in advance. Managers must be capable of leading their teams in a variety of methods.
Here are 15 tips for managing remote employees who work from home to get you started.
1. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) early and often
Setting limits, establishing principles, and going back to the basics are among the most important things to do before starting a project. You should be available and clear about objectives, milestones, performance targets, and other concerns since there may be inquiries.
Make a note of each team member's availability so you know who to call if something comes up.
Managers, just as they do in the office, should keep employees updated on policy and staffing changes, business accomplishments, and advice for working from home.
You should also model behavior outside of working hours, such as establishing guidelines for responding to work e-mail and SMS after hours.
This helps employees maintain a decent work/life balance and prevents burnout, which is more common when working from home because there is no physical separation between home and business.
2. Be organized and flexible
You must give flexible hours in order to properly manage remote employees who work from home. A smart manager should be willing to modify strategies as necessary, even if it means putting out a comprehensive plan. It doesn't matter if your employees work in the morning or the evening, as long as the task is completed is and of high quality.
3. Make changes to the duration of your meetings.
When managing remote employees who work from home, all managers should be adaptive.. Instead of extended meetings, have brief virtual huddles. Team resourcing, scheduling, and action planning may all benefit from this method of thinking.
4. Monitor the progress of the team
Allow your staff to supply you with a work plan that includes duties that must be completed within a particular period of time. This will relieve your stress and provide your team the structure they need to thrive. Just because you can't physically see someone working, does not mean they aren’t. Have faith in the process.
5. Focus on Communication
Management must communicate with their remote employees because it keeps them informed about available resources, deadlines, expectations from managers, job-related concerns, and work schedules.
Consider which communication tool best matches the team's culture—email, texts, phone talks, or video chats as employees may communicate through various channels and at different intervals.
Get feedback from employees on how they want to be managed. Managers may keep track of what each employee needs to be effective when working from home.
While it's important for managers to keep check and balance, it can be seen as micromanaging causing workers to develop distrust.
6. Be attentive
Good listeners who demonstrate trust and respect, and inquire about workload and progress without micromanaging, and over-communicating are the most effective managers.
Surveys are a tool that is frequently underutilized. Employee net promoter scores, for example, might be useful on a monthly or quarterly basis, as could pulse surveys to get a better understanding of employee sentiments. The net promoter score is a metric that determines how likely an employee is to recommend their company to other job seekers.
Remember that if you ask for our employees' opinions, you must act on them.
7. Make ties with your coworkers and make yourself available to them
In this new work environment, many people may feel alone and lonely. As a result, building relationships with employees is crucial.
Share good comments, establish a fun chat channel, or attempt to 'get coffee' together—whatever it takes to keep a feeling of normalcy [and] unity and remind everyone that they aren't working alone.
A competent manager must be accessible to his or her employees.
They go above and above to have an open-door policy for remote employees, making themselves available across several time zones and via a variety of technologies.
8. Make collaboration feasible
A shared record that logs work activities is one alternative for supervisors to be informed about what their employees are doing. It's a useful practice even when teams are in the office, and it will help managers adjust their expectations and duties of employees during this uncertain time.
Also, as a group, decide on appropriate virtual collaboration behavior, such as how quickly to reply to colleague emails.
9. Avoid micromanagement.
You shouldn't have to keep an eye on your employees while they're at work. Regular one-on-one check-ins help managers avoid micromanaging while still keeping an eye on their employees and ensuring that feedback is delivered both ways.
If your employees are communicating effectively and meeting KPIs and deadlines, you can trust that they are productive and doing their responsibilities efficiently.
10. Set clear productivity objectives for remote employees.
Some checks and balances apply just to certain jobs, while others apply to the entire organization.
While some managers may believe that tracking productivity standards is a waste of time, it may really assist you in identifying issues that need to be addressed.
Analyzing a call center employee's performance over 90 days, for example, may identify the need for more customer service hours or a productivity bottleneck.
11. Identify and supply the necessary tools
Making the appropriate tools available when they're needed is an important component of managing remote personnel. Leaders and teams may need to evaluate what policies and processes should be in place to make the transition smoother.
Decide on whether remote workers will be given company computers or will be permitted to use their own. When it comes to technology, tools, software, CRMs, cyber security, and data protection are obviously critical.
You should also consider if the person works from home or in a co-working facility, as well as the reliability of their internet connection.
Small and large enterprises might benefit from digital video conferencing services.
Keep in mind that some operations may demand face-to-face meetings between you and your remote staff, whether for security concerns or just because it is more efficient. Accept that specific aspects of a job or particular units within a bigger division are restricted by remote work.
In an ideal world, new teleworkers would be trained six months in advance on how to use critical remote equipment and protocols.
Even if the shift to remote work is expected to take weeks (or days), a four- or 24-hour trial run may disclose unforeseen flaws in a previously successful remote strategy.
12. Make time for your team to communicate on specified days, hours, and in specific ways.
Casual workplace connections, as previously stated, improve collegiality and teamwork.
To reproduce such communication, remote teams may need to put in a little more effort. Whether there are off-site or on-site employees, good managers try to involve everyone as much as possible in team activities and discussions.
Encourage your remote staff to maintain frequent contact with you and the rest of the team, even if it appears unusual or inconvenient at first. In fact, what constitutes "frequent contact" depends on the job and duties that telecommuting employees must complete.
How to promote interaction and relationships
Email, instant messaging, and phone or video conferencing are all required for remote collaboration.
Employees should maintain their daily plans up to date on a uniform platform or application wherever possible. During typical business hours, "away" alerts on software and out-of-office email answers are both beneficial. These apparently little details assist to reduce the dangers and frustrations that come with communication bottlenecks.
Encourage team members to be as communicative and clear as possible using any medium they prefer.
Schedule meetings to keep track of progress to make sure the KPIs are being met. Managers can review work and provide feedback in these meetings.
It would be beneficial to review how to hold a productive meeting. Despite the minor variations between remote and in-person meetings, it's a good idea to:
When it comes to managing teleworkers, the agile method, which originated in the software industry but is now used in a variety of sectors, might be beneficial. Many remote teams have discovered that utilizing this strategy improves responsibility while also helping project managers.
Everyone should, at the absolute least, write a weekly email outlining their current projects and any forthcoming deadlines or concerns.
13. Maintain frequent contact with distant personnel.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for how frequently a manager should communicate with remote workers.
Whereas, the most productive one-on-one calls are about more than just measuring productivity. They may also be an effective way to keep remote employees engaged and motivated.
Daily, monthly, or bi-monthly one-on-one calls can benefit a manager in the following ways:
- Examining how the employee is performing in general.
- Identifying and eliminating employee bottlenecks
- Discuss the professional development goals of the employee.
- Responding to a series of questions about the employee.
More or less routine interaction may be necessary depending on the employee and the nature of their employment.
14. Make a video or a tip sheet with suggestions from remote workers.
Employees (or trusted industry colleagues) who have traveled the remote road previously may be able to advise on the best software to use or how to set up a home office.
These concepts can be shared via PDFs, short films, or informal question-and-answer video sessions.
Other work from home suggestions include:
- How to deal with the ups and downs of everyday life (and peak periods)
- Working from home and maintaining a work-life balance
- How to Maintain Healthy Habits
- Time management suggestions
- Personal strategies for remaining focused and organized
15. Keep in mind that remote working does not mean a reduction in costs
When it comes to remote employees, budgets are a big consideration. Some business owners think that by allowing remote work they will be able to cut down on costs.
However, it is not as simple as it looks. Yes, your organization will save money on office space, but those savings will most likely be utilized in some other form.
If remote workers in other states are needed to visit the main office once a quarter or more, your travel expenditures may increase. To fully accommodate distant people, you may need to invest in new or upgraded software as well as additional gear, such as headphones.
Workers who work from home can be as, if not more, productive than those who work in an office. All you have to do now is set them up for success