Essential Tips For Managing Remote Employees
Remote working has been expeditiously cored upon us and managers have had little time to prepare for this new way of working. Leading a virtual team can be a creepy prospect and if its introduction were part of a normal transformation program, learning and development would be at the top of the agenda to ensure that the change is successful and sustainable. The pandemic did not afford us the luxury of time and so managers and employees have been thrown in at the deep end, muddling through as best as possible to keep businesses adrift.
Lead With Empathy: It’s important to consider that this current version of working from home isn’t like working remotely for the afternoon to oversee home repairs or taking a day to focus on a big project outside the office. Our daily lives and routines have been impacted undoubtedly and making the necessary lifestyle adjustments won’t be simple for some people. Employees may not have dedicated work-from-home spaces in their homes and might also be faced with an additional challenge.
Grasp technology and use it: Find out what collaboration tools you have access to and utilize them at every given opportunity. With remote working, communication must be more deliberate, especially to start with, so make sure your team knows what tools are there, what they are for, and ensure that they are always responsible for emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, chat, etc.
Video calls: Get used to video calls as your team needs to see you and each other, maybe not every day (Zoom fatigue is real), but at least a couple of times a week. Never underestimate the power of non-verbal communication, a smile, the raise of an eyebrow, a shrug. It is these little movements that make people feel connected, and as a manager, it is your opportunity to gauge how your team is feeling as non-verbal cues are easily missed over a phone call. If you saw a member of your team in the office looking unusually down, not smiling as much, a bit rumpled, you would (hopefully) speak to them privately to find out if everything is ok. The principle is the same for remote teams and video calls are your way to see that things are as they should be.
Resist the urge to micromanage : Effective virtual working is based on trust and communication. The key is to focus on output, not an activity, and regular meetings with your team and customers will enable you to keep an eye on everything. Micromanagement has no place in a high-performing virtual working environment and as the leader of the team, you have a duty to role model appropriate behavior. Define and clearly communicate expectations, cover everything from the delivery of work, to meetings, sharing information, working time, and practices, and don’t be afraid to get input and ideas from your team.
Encourage Natural Breaks Throughout the Day: Going from working in an office every day to working from home all the time isn’t the easiest changeover to make. Some people might even feel like they have to stay glued to their workspaces. so they never miss an email, message, or phone call. But that’s not necessarily how they would be operating back in the office—so it’s crucial to remind your team that it’s OK to step away for a while and always feel comfortable to work in a positive mood.