Ways to Effectively Manage Your Remote Employees

While many businesses had no choice but to adopt a work-from-home system to protect their employees during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, many are now discovering that remote work has many perks, both for their business and for their employees. For businesses, remote workers allow them to save money on office space and other operational expenses. It also gives them the chance to hire great employees from outside their local area. For employees, going remote gives them more flexibility and control over how they work. This can increase happiness and productivity.

Thanks to benefits like these, 3 out of 5 American workers would prefer to continue working from home, even once COVID-19 restrictions are entirely lifted, and more and more businesses are starting to consider if they should embrace remote working. Whether you’re looking to make the shift toward remote working or are temporarily managing remote employees, these tips will help you effectively manage your team, no matter where they are.

Familiarize yourself with the common challenges of remote working

Remote working comes with a variety of unique challenges, both for remote employees and their bosses. When managing remote employees, be aware of problems that may arise, like a sudden loss of internet connection, spotty phone service, or background distractions, like a barking dog or a loud coffee grinder in the café where an employee is working. Understand that common problems like these might occur, and have a plan to address them. Additionally, remember that a little patience goes a long way, especially with employees who might be getting used to balancing their work and home lives.

Communicate frequently

When someone can’t just walk down the hallway to ask a question, proper communication is critical for effectively managing remote employees. Have consistent, organized communication with your remote employees, and consider having a brief online “huddle” each morning with all your employees to make sure everyone is on the same page and to give them a chance to ask questions. Encourage your employees to be direct with each other as well, such as having a quick video chat instead of sending emails back and forth. Communication is important in any type of workplace setting, but is especially important when you are not having face-to-face interactions every day.

Offer ways to collaborate

One of the biggest drawbacks of remote working is that it cuts down on collaboration. To address this issue while managing remote employees, look for tools or ways to facilitate collaboration. For example, create a spreadsheet, online chat, or other online document where employees can document and share necessary information, and encourage video chats and phone calls among your remote employees. Though you might not all be in the same workspace, fostering collaboration helps to increase productivity and creates a sense of community for remote workers.

Trust in your employees

It can be difficult to not be able to physically check in with remote workers, but it’s important to trust in your remote employees. While you should always clearly communicate your expectations, avoid micromanaging remote workers, and trust that they are doing the same great work they’d be doing in a traditional workplace setting.

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