Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people. - Brian Tracy
Managing remote employees is a tricky affair. To master the art of managing employees has always been critical. Every year the world goes through some cultural shifts, and every new trend demands new skills and understanding of people's psychology.
This year the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis has been giving managers a tough time. With employees going remote, managers are in perplexing situations. Due to which the world is already adapting to the new 'work from home' culture. The first thing that every company can start with has a work from home policy that suits their culture.
You can face several unforeseen challenges if you find yourself forced to manage a team remotely that you are used to managing in-person.
To help you with that, we are sharing useful tips with you to help you manage your remote workers and bring the usual efficiency back. You can also take it as a quick guide to managing your remote workers.
1. Daily Check-in
Since you longer have access to conduct in-person meetings and share updates, therefore keeping everyone on the same page is a real struggle now.
The fundamental to keep your remote team keeps going is to trust them. Since you longer have the power to oversee your employees' work, it is essential to trust your members. Have a daily check-in with your remote team via video conferencing or phone call to keep everyone on the same page. A regular check-in would also help them understand what is expected of them each day. Most importantly, listen to your team and leave room for everyone to raise their concerns, ask questions, and update their work.
2. Do Not Micromanage
If you have a micromanaging management approach, you must give it a pause since you can no longer do it with your remote teams. Remote workers would have different commitments when they are working from home. Some may start the day early, and some may work late at night. Therefore focusing on their activity would no longer be an effective way to manage them. The practical implementation would be focusing on the outcome and overall productivity than micromanaging. As long as the outcome of your remote teams is acceptable, micromanaging is not a necessity.
Related : Here is a podcast on how to build a culture of trust and authenticity in times of crisis.
3. Communication Strategy and Tools
Communication is one of the most critical aspects that you cannot take for granted. But since your remote teams are not under the same roof, it is vital to use strategies that help you and your team.
In an office work environment, you can conduct impromptu in-person meetings or can discuss your concerns immediately to your employees. With your remote employees, it is not possible. Therefore, make communication strategies that can overcome this issue. Communication tools like Zoom can help you conduct video conferencing with your team, and management tools like Asana can help you maintain the team's workflow.
4. Make your Expectations Clear
The sudden shift in the work environment can make your team confused. It is, therefore, vital for you to keep your expectations at the front. Also, this helps them manage their workflow efficiently. Whether you make new plans for your remote workers or set new guidelines, make sure you vocalize those from time to time. That would ensure the right flow of communication and help you overcome misunderstandings and boost productivity.
You can also do weekly meetings with your entire team if that works for you. Ultimately, it's on you; whatever method you use, letting your remote team know what is expected of them is vital.
Since you are not in a physical work environment and, therefore, make sure the process is clear and concise.
5. Essential Tools to Utilize
We can continuously keep ourselves connected with the fantastic tools that are available in the market. This most probably the best perk technology has given us. Like already discussed, communication tool like Zoom is great to conduct the conference and keep everyone updated no matter where your employee is located. If you use the right tool, you can easily connect to your teams, assign tasks to them, maintain workflow, and more.
6. Look out When They are in Distress
The bottom line for any organization is its productivity. And the productivity is compromised when the employees are in distress or any anxiety. The uncertainty and sudden work from home culture have brought a massive change in how an organization and its employees operate. Employees suffering from mental health seems obvious. Therefore, it is critical to understand them and provide support.
Also, research shows that employees look to their managers about how to respond to a crisis. If managers show signs of helplessness and anxiety, it trickles down to their employees.
Therefore, managers should not only create the right communication channel to support and hear their employees but also should be positive and empowering in any crisis.
7. Recognize Through Digital Platforms
During periods of disruption, employees' desire for being recognized for their contribution increases by about 30%, explains Gartner expert Brian Kropp.
Effective recognition motivates the recipient and serves as a strong signal to other employees of behaviors they should emulate. In a traditional workplace, managers could directly recognize the star performer near everyone and set an example for them to follow. But with remote teams it very difficult to achieve. Fewer interactions between managers and teams don't streamline the process well.
The only practical solution here is to recognize them through digital platforms. This will also provide transparency and keep your remote employees engaged.