A recent study revealed nearly one-third of Canadian businesses have (at least) 10% of their employees working from home due to current COVID-19 conditions (approx. 5 million total). The same study also reported at least one-quarter of organizations predict that 10% of their staff will continue to work remotely post-pandemic. With more and more businesses gravitating towards a remote workforce, owners are now facing all-new challenges when it comes to effectively managing staff.
Here are our top seven tips for managing remote employees:
- Equip Employees For Success
Set your employees up for success by ensuring they have the right tools. Beyond the basic laptop and/or mobile phone, this should include the collaborative software and technology needed to perform daily activities. Other tools may include:
- Video chat apps
- Real-time communication app(s)
- Project management software
- Time management software
- Access to company policies and procedures
- Security protection
- Set and Manage Expectations
Be transparent and open regarding company guidelines, boundaries and expectations. This means defining your employees’ scope of work, deliverables expected for each project, timelines for delivery, etc. You’ll also want to help your team understand how their successes will be measured.
- Make Communication a Priority
Successful remote management also starts with a communication strategy. While you don’t want to micromanage your employees, you’ll want to establish a set of guidelines that allows workers to feel acknowledged and supported. Guidelines may include:
- How the team prefers and is expected to communicate (i.e. email, video chats, phone calls, etc.)
- Communication turn-around times (especially for email)
- When the team is expected to communicate (i.e. certain times of day for meetings, etc.)
- Use Video as Much as Possible
Speaking of communication strategy, experts recommend utilizing video conferences as much as possible to build relationships, streamline collaboration and boost productivity. In addition, video is the next best alternative to “in-person” interactions where employees can engage with both you and each other - a key component in building workplace relationships.
- Have Regular One on Ones
It’s much easier for employees to “stop by” to discuss ad hoc issues or ideas in an office setting. To encourage an open-door policy in a remote environment, try to schedule weekly/bi-weekly/monthly (depending on what works best for your organization) one-on-one meetings with your staff. You may also want to provide a list of “open hours” where you’re available to chat without the need to schedule an official meeting.
- Create a Virtual Watercooler
Social interaction is yet another critical part of the workplace. Consider creating a channel in your chat app of choice where employees can communicate in a fun and spontaneous way (i.e. Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, etc.). Alternatively, you may want to add additional time to the beginning/end of video meetings for employees to connect and converse.
- Focus on Progress Instead of Process
Every employee has their own approach to completing tasks successfully and on time. For this reason, it’s important to focus on the business goals achieved as opposed to how they’re being accomplished. This will also show workers you trust them to deliver without consistently checking in on them (which you have little time for, anyway).
See our previous post: 8 Successful Tips For Working at Home
Find out how GAM Tech can help you protect your business’s remote data by booking your Free Consultation today. Or, to have the latest IT trends, tips, advice and information delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.