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Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Workers

Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Workers

Remote work is not a new trend. It’s been around for many years — it’s just becoming much more popular. Why would a boss let someone work from home? Well, there’s a ton of benefits for both the employee and the employer. Bosses are now shifting how they typically manage and adjusting to the remote working way of managing. 

Let’s first go over some of the benefits of remote working. 

  • The dreaded daily commute: Commuting to work takes a toll on one’s health since they spend more time sitting in a car not getting exercise, breathing in pollutants, and just the added stress of traffic. Not to mention the higher risk of getting in an auto accident.
  • Cost savings: It saves the employee on gas, adds wear-and-tear on their car, picking up coffee and lunch daily. All of them could easily save $4,000 a year. The employer saves money by not needing the additional office space full of supplies and added utilities.
  • Work distractions: With a busy office, there are many distractions that interrupt one’s work and thought process. While working, people are much more productive when they’re less distracted.
  • Work-life balance: Work remotely tends to leave people happier and healthier, too, so the benefits can fall into family life and work-life balance while improving their personal health. It gives the employee more time with friends and family and to do things that they enjoy doing.

With your employees not in the office, how can you manage them? It’s actually much easier than you may think. The way you manage your remote workers will have a long-term impact on your business and its potential to grow. The morale and productivity will be positive if you manage your remote team right. 

Tips for Managing Remotely 

1. Get the Right People 

Everyone is not a good candidate for remote work. It does take someone who is self-motivated, driven, and committed to their organization and its purpose. Someone who could work without someone standing over their shoulder making sure they get their work done. While they will still need some direction and guidance, they should be able to successfully complete their work, no matter where they are.

It also takes the right manager - not everyone is cut out to manage a remote team. It will take someone who doesn’t manage with their ego, per se, but one who is more relaxed and has trust in their team to get the work done without them micromanaging them. They also need to be cautious when bringing on new remote workers to their team. 

2. Structure and Rules 

Setting the structure and rules that you expect from the beginning will help to set a strong remote foundation that will be carried throughout their employment with you. Be sure to be clear on your expectations – writing is always best. 

3. Communication is Key 

When you’re in the office, your team members could walk in your office with a question or when you’re needed for something — when you have a remote team, that’s not an option. When you onboard a remote worker, be sure to let them know how to contact you and the best times to contact you. 

Productivity in a workplace depends on the structure and what has been shown to be acceptable. When you introduce rules to your remote team, make it very clear about what they actually mean. Set expectations and demonstrate them yourself. Be very specific about deadlines with dates and times even. Remember, what you allow will continue.

Since remote work typically allows for more flexibility with start and stop times, keep that in mind when scheduling meetings. If you have it at a set time, it might be a huge inconvenience for some of your team, so you could try to find a time that works for everyone or rotate the times weekly, so the inconvenience doesn’t just fall on one team member. However, meetings are more important when you have remote workers to keep them engaged and informed. 

You don’t want an employee to stop production over a small problem that you could easily fix and not know what steps to take to handle the problem so they could continue production. Make it clear to them that you are available when needed and exactly how you can be reached. 

One way to ensure the communication doors stay open is to give your team access to your calendar to book an appointment with you. Block some time off in your schedule just for your team members. This way, they know hearing from them is important to you and that you are willing to take the time to listen to whatever they want or need to talk about. 

4. There’s No “I” in “Team” 

A team is a group of individuals working together to achieve their goals. To ensure your team still works like a team it will require a little work on your part. There are several ways you could make this happen, one of them being weekly team meetings. 

A time your entire team gets together, hopefully on a video call, to talk about what everyone’s doing, goals, issues, whatever — just a time to connect with each other. You could make it light and fun and get everyone involved and talking. You could have everyone share one positive thing that has happened since that last meeting. 

You could also create team-building activities that could be done in person if your team is local or virtual. Get creative and make sure everyone gets involved. A strong team is a fierce team. 

5. Best For Team Members

The biggest benefit of working remotely for your team is flexibility. But what works for one may not work for the next. You also have to be flexible to ensure your employees are happy and most productive. 

Ask for feedback from your team members and really listen to their wants, needs, and concerns. When they are happy and committed to your organization, they will be more productive and work towards the same goals.

6. Create Trust 

If you, as a manager, do not trust your team members, you are probably not doing an excellent job selecting when hiring. You shouldn’t worry about what a remote employee is doing all the time. You should trust your employees are being productive and will meet the deadlines you set for their projects. 

7. Give Recognition 

When your team is working remotely, giving recognition sometimes gets forgotten by management. However, it’s not forgotten by your employee. Studies have shown that 37% of employees that responded to a survey said that more personal recognition would encourage them to provide better work more often.

All work and no recognition will make your employees not want to work as hard for you, they will feel unappreciated and get burned out. While giving recognition will help you retain top talent, encourage high performance and increase employee engagement. 

8. Technology 

Which technology will you use for your team to stay connected and productive? Enable your  team to work at its best? A universal system for all businesses doesn’t work here since different companies do different things. Your job is to ensure that the technology you choose will work best for your business and how you operate.

Be clear about who will provide the remote workers with the equipment they need, how they will get technical support, and what features their devices need. You may risk the security of the data and communication that your employees can access if this isn’t clearly explained.

9. Understanding Company Values

Your role as manager of a remote team is to help them understand the values and mission of the company. Ensure they know your company's mission statement. The more you include them, the more they will understand and value it. It makes it easier by selecting new employees who share the same values as your company. 

10. Output vs Activity 

With a lot of remote work, the company is looking for output of an end product rather than how much time and when the employee was on the clock. If this is true for your business then focus on the product that was completed rather than the time. Some of your employees might work better early in the morning so that’s when they get their work done while others start a little later then take a long break and finish in the evening. In these cases, it doesn’t matter when the work gets done. It just matters that it gets done and done well. 

The Result

If you manage your remote team well, they will be more productive, engaged, and happier, resulting in higher retention of top employees. You need to be flexible, understanding but also clear with the rules and expectations. It’s your job to open lines of communication and ensure your team is set up with the right tools for high productivity and success.

If you’re looking to outsource a remote team to handle specific tasks for your company, such as customer service, call center, data entry, back-office support, graphic design, web, and software development, contact today