The COVID-19 situation has forced all many of us to work from home and as many of us are new to this style, it is difficult to cope up. It is very simple if you know some rules and techniques.
Therefore, here are some essential tips for effectively managing remote employees:
1. Set Clear Expectations:
The salary is paid based on hours worked. If an employee doesn’t come to the office, their salary is cut. But how do you manage this while people are not coming to the office?
As the boss, your concern should be that your work is done irrespective of the hours and days your employee works on the task. The simple solution here is that you give them the tasks and you set a defined start and end date/time for that task. This will let you know if they are working or not. Clear expectations will let them know what you expect from them and thus there will be transparency. You can use a task management tool to assign tasks and set dates and times.
2. Document The Communication Strategy:
Some people may be working in sales and some may be working as content writers. If you want them to feel like they are part of your organization, you have to set up a communication strategy.
You have to make it clear that when someone can call you and when they should expect a call from you. Outline which sort of questions and queries should be discussed via video call or a group meeting and which should be discussed over instant message or an e-mail. Tell them how much time they should reply to your email. Set a clear communication strategy so that no one can have an excuse later.
3. Engage As Often As Possible:
As the manager/boss, you must get the work done by the employee. You have to address this duty even when you have remote employees. This project execution lies in your hands, but how will you manage remote people?
The simple solution is that you have to contact them at least once per day. You can send them an email, a message, a call or a video call, the key here is that you have to be in direct contact with them every day. Can you discuss what they have done during the day or how the work/project is going?
The longer you go without some contact, the employee will start feeling that they are not valued and sooner or later their productivity will decrease. All this can be avoided by daily contact.
4. Schedule A Daily Team Meeting:
You should set a daily team meeting so that team members can get to know each other and they don’t feel isolated. By setting up regular group meetings and live virtual events, you can foster a feeling of unity among the team and this will help them bond. Bonding is very essential as a business is carried by a group of people and if there is bonding among the team, they will feel more motivated towards the work as the remote employee will have a feeling of working at the office.
This also helps remote employees to provide their ideas and to contribute towards business.
5. Be Transparent:
Employees look towards their leader as their ideal and therefore you should be open and honest to everyone if you wish them to do the same.
By building transparency, it’s easier to build trust among the team and thus they can come up with all the questions and queries to you. Just make sure that you create transparency among the whole team.
For example, if you have a piece of news to share, you should share it with all the members of the team so that you have the same connection with everyone. You can use a project management tool and you can share all the things in a project so that all of them can see it.
6. Build A Strong Rapport With Each Member:
Between a remote and an on-premise employee, there should be nothing different other than their geographical position.
You have to connect with them as you will connect with all the other employees. You should take time to know their hobbies, interests and career aspirations. You may feel that if you are connecting to them on a busy day, you should strictly stick with the business matters as this may be more productive, but believe me that this will just turn everything boring and can never be productive.
When you make a call to them or they call you, make sure that you put aside a few minutes for some personal interaction. This will make them feel more engaged on a personal level and it will make you a better leader.
7. Use Technology To Lessen The Distance:
Technology has done wonders and there is no doubt that you can find wonders here too.
I read a fact some days before and it stated that after the lockdown due to COVID-19, there has been a 50% increase in searches for work management software. You can use project management software to assign all the tasks and monitor the progress. They have features like time tracking, chat, video chat, notifications, etc. You will feel that you are just working from your office and everyone will report everything on the software itself. You just need to have a look and all your business will be in front of you on your computer/laptop’s screen.
8. Create An Open-Door Policy:
Your in-house employees know when you are in a meeting, having lunch or you are talking with your clients. How can a remote employee know this?
If they face any query, they will contact you and if you are not able to answer the, they won’t be able to proceed further and this will result in delays. To make sure, you have to train yourself. Remote employees may call you when you are in between something or after office hours, you have to make sure that you answer them and solve their query whenever it is possible.
If you are in the middle of something and you cannot answer, just tell them and make sure that you call them back later.
9. Don’t Micromanage:
Naturally, sometimes you will feel that if your remote employee is really working or they are just relaxing and are having fun. Well, this is the step where trust comes in. You must have trust in your employees or else your team cannot stand.
This is not at all good for the long run and in this case, you are the one that is hurting productivity. If they are submitting all the work at the time, you should trust them. It should not matter to you what they are doing, as long as you are getting your work completed before the deadline.
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Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that’s helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who’s doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team’s productivity.