Trying to manage remote employees requires finesse from employers and managers because of the unique challenges they face when they’re not physically working together. But with effective communication and a well-put-together plan, you can certainly overcome these unique challenges.
How you manage your remote workforce would have long-effects on your business and your potential for growth. If you fail to do your job properly, productivity and morale will suffer. But if you succeed, you boost engagement and build loyalty.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for handling remote workers. But whether you’re managing a lawn service franchise, legal practice, or some other kind of business, here are some practical guidelines to consider.
Communicate with Your Team Extensively and Frequently
Clear and regular communication becomes even more crucial when employees need to work remotely. Everyone should fully understand what you expect from them to succeed, including project details, deadlines, and deliverables. This isn’t the time to be ambiguous.
It would be best to encourage your team by reaching out via a phone call, instant messaging, or a video call whenever they have any concerns or questions. The frequency of communication is vital, as well. Hold online meetings, conference calls, and one-on-one chats regularly.
Treat Everyone as Individuals
Effective managers are capable of determining the strengths, needs, and weaknesses of people working for them. With this, they could use that information for motivating and nurturing each person. This same management style and insight should be applied to how you work remotely.
So if you have eight people in your team, that’s eight different sets of personal needs you should meet. You need to engage them to bring out their strengths. For instance, if an employee is more productive at night, consider allowing that. If another employee prefers mornings, then allow that as well. This is a perfect example of treating people as individuals.
Trust That Your Team Can Do Their Job
While you can’t see your team work when they work at home as you could when you’re together in the office or out in the field, this doesn’t mean that they’re slacking off. If you have trust issues with your team, it’s a good idea to take a step back and ask yourself why and ponder on that. But you should ditch your trust issues or risk turning into a micromanager. And no one wants that.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Promote work-life balance by encouraging your employees to create appropriate boundaries between home and work life. Remote work tends to blend the lines between personal and working hours. So refrain from making your team feel like they need to be reachable 24/7. Respect their personal hours and only contact them for urgent matters.
Whenever possible, you must also try to ensure that processes or tasks are not dependent on just one person. This way, you can fix problems without contacting your team outside of work hours.
The bottom line: yes, managing a remote team is a challenge. But clear and regular communication, identifying individual needs, being confident in your workers’ abilities, and identifying individual needs can help.