Has the pandemic forced you and your staff to start working from home? Managing remote employees can be a serious challenge, especially if everyone is used to an office environment.
Still, many employers are seeing the practical value of having remote employees. In fact, 20% say they're considering how to make remote work a viable option in the future—even after the pandemic passes.
Whether you're managing remote staff temporarily or making the transition for the long haul, how can you ensure your team's success? What can you do to hold everyone accountable while promoting the same positive company culture you shared in the office?
In this post, we'll discuss actionable tips you can take to better manage your remote employees. Read on to learn more!
1. Set Clear Goals & Expectations
Between 2005 and 2017, the number of remote workers in the US grew an astounding 159%. None of that growth would have been possible without efficient communication between employers and staff members.
Before you can hold your employees accountable for anything, they need to be crystal clear on what's expected of them. Whether you're onboarding new workers or helping current employees make the transition, don't leave any room for doubts.
Explain company standards and policies, reinforcing the idea that nothing has changed even if you're no longer coming into the office. Outline clear communication practices and deadlines for projects and deliverables.
Remember, there's no room for unspoken or unwritten rules in a successful working environment.
2. Streamline Communication Methods
You likely use a variety of tools to interact with your staff, from messaging apps to email. For the fastest (and best) results, you might consider setting up one main channel to manage all communication.
A secure, private messaging network, such as Slack, allows you to instantly send and receive messages from your team members. This allows for faster problem-solving than standard emails, which can easily be lost or overlooked.
This improved efficiency means it's easier for you to hold everyone accountable for completing their assignments. Any project changes can be communicated to the entire team instantly, with questions asked and answered in real-time.
3. Schedule Regular Meetings
Project management programs and messaging apps are valuable tools, but they're not a replacement for actual interaction. The frequency of meetings you'll have depends on the size of your team and your projects.
Whether it's a daily check-in or a weekly progress report, setting up regular meetings is a vital aspect of your accountability plan. Use these meetings to answer questions, perform status checks, and identify roadblocks. If it's not possible to schedule everything in advance, let your workers know they should be available between certain times in the event of a last-minute meeting.
Group meetings are essential, but so are one-on-one sessions. This is especially true if your team is new to working at home and might be struggling to adjust. One-on-one meetings allow you to check in personally, identify problems, and encourage professional development.
If you have team members spread across many time zones, do your best to schedule meetings at a time that works for the majority. You want these meetings to be informative and motivating, not an interruption or burden.
4. Utilize Agendas & Track Action Items
To manage every detail, you need a central hub that everyone can refer to.
Use a program like Asana or Basecamp to organize and track everyone's work, including your own. Break tasks down into individual assignments. Give each team member the ability to upload files and messages related to those assignments.
Take advantage of automated email tools that send updates when a task or project is completed. You can also use these tools to send agreements or other documents for your team to electronically sign.
It's important for everyone to be aware of the "big picture" and how each project is progressing. This ensures everyone knows what their role is and that they'll be held accountable for completing their assigned tasks.
5. Encourage Remote Employees to Be Proactive
In your role as an employer, you don't want to have to (nor should you try to) micro-manage your staff. Instead, give them the positive motivation they need to maintain healthy work morale at home.
Accountability starts with each individual, so encourage your team to adopt good work practices. They should make daily to-do lists, setting both short-term and long-term goals. If possible, they should set up a dedicated work area in their home and try to stick to set working hours.
To make things easier for your team, collect advice from people who successfully work at home. Put together a short video or "tip sheet" with suggestions to help each employee stay on track.
These might include:
● Tips for better time management
● Maintaining a healthy work-life balance
● Strategies for staying focused and minimizing distractions
● A list of local eateries and coffee shops that deliver
Ultimately, your goal is to encourage your employees to hold themselves responsible for producing good work. When they're empowered to take that step, it will make your management efforts all the more successful.
Need Help Managing Your Remote Employees?
Working from home has its challenges for the employer and the employees. By using the tips outlined above, you can make sure everyone is set up for success.
Streamline your communication efforts and clearly communicate your expectations. Arrange regular times to meet with your remote employees, both as a team and individually.
Make good use of all the electronic tools that are available to keep everyone informed. You should also encourage your staff to proactively manage their time and workspace and offer practical suggestions to help them.
Is your company growing faster than you can manage it? Do you need help with employee compliance or other HR-related tasks?
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