If you have remote employees, you are probably aware that this work model comes with a number of benefits, including increased productivity. However, it is not without challenges, and managers know this very well. Managing remote teams requires a special skill set which includes flexibility, open-mindedness, and creativity among other things.
To help you out, we’re offering 5 tips to manage remote workers effectively.
In many cases, issues with remote work stem from poor or insufficient communication. Regardless of how much you trust your remote employees, you need to communicate with them openly and frequently in order to be able to build a healthy remote work culture.
Be sure to update your remote team members about their tasks, progress, and challenges on a regular basis. This will not only enable them to stay on track but it will also allow you to effectively monitor their work.
Use communication tools, such as Slack or Skype, to set up one-on-one or group meetings that will help streamline the work processes and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Give Virtual Gifts
Virtual gifts are a great way to show your remote team members how much you appreciate their hard work. Giving gifts promotes team bonding and encourages your remote employees to continue producing high-quality outcomes. In addition, showing appreciation for remote workers can help keep them with the company and reduce employee turnaround.
One of the most common virtual gift ideas for remote workers is giving them subscriptions (for instance, to stores they like or things they need for work purposes) or sending them gift certificates. These gifts will make your remote workforce feel valued and ensure that their morale remains high.
Set Expectations From the Start
While working remotely offers a lot of flexibility, it also requires more effort on the manager’s part when it comes to setting expectations and boundaries. In order to utilize your remote employees in the most efficient manner possible, you must establish a clearly defined project management system and procedures from the beginning. Here are some things you should take into consideration:
- Identify what needs to be done and, if necessary, break the work into smaller tasks to make it easier. Set clear goals, expectations, and deadlines for each task.
- Identify which team member is best suited to which task.
- Use good project management software that will help everyone know where they are and what they have to do.
- Determine which communication tools you will use: email, video calling, or instant messaging? Set a schedule for regular conference calls to discuss progress or issues.
- Think about what you can do to keep your remote workers engaged and motivated when they are overwhelmed or feel isolated.
- Put a system in place that will allow you to generate reports and see analytics on how everything is working.
Create a Virtual Water Cooler
Scheduling team meetings is great when it comes to managing remote workers, but the members of your team also need to be able to interact with each other independently and spontaneously. A water cooler symbolizes employees’ break time and is a chance for them to get together and talk about things that are not related to work.
For instance, you can build five to ten minutes of personal time at the beginning or end of every meeting for everyone to give a personal update. You can also create separate groups or channels for employees who share common interests such as movies or reading. Build these groups strategically so that everyone can find something valuable in them.
Collect Feedback Regularly
Collecting feedback from employees is crucial in order to ensure that everything is working well for them. It will help you identify any challenges your remote workers might be facing or weak points that need adjusting. You can collect feedback during your one-on-one meetings with employees or you can use anonymous surveys and polls.
Don’t forget to provide feedback to your employees as well. Many managers might be surprised at how often their team members would accept feedback: 60% of them reported wanting feedback on a daily or weekly basis.
Managing remote workers can be overwhelming. Remote work comes with its own set of problems and challenges but by understanding the issues and having a solid strategy, you will be able to increase productivity, keep your team motivated, and lead by example.