10 tips to improve your remote workforce
As the world begins to recover from COVID-19, many companies plan to continue working remotely. Whether your team is remote, on-site, or a combination of both, proper management is key to the success of your employees and your company.
While there are some similarities between managing an in-office and remote workforce, you’ll need to be aware of the differences between the two setups. Here are 10 tips to better manage your remote workforce, and how these techniques compare to operating in the office.
1.Build remote leadership capabilities:
In a remote setting, people can’t walk up to each other and get face-to-face clarification when an issue arises. Therefore, leaders tend to micromanage, causing disconnection and lack of trust between teams and with managers. As a leader, you need to be more agile, set clear expectations and goals, encourage collaboration, and use relevant technology that saves you from micromanaging.
2.Look for signs of “presence” and connection:
The right technological tools and clear and constant communication are key. You need to be aware of whether your employees are “present” and connecting. Look for signs. Do they walk away in meetings where they would generally be more participatory? Are they more detailed in emails than in meetings? Reach out to make sure they know how to participate and work remotely .
When your team is remote, everyone loses a lot of communication. Here are three ways to overcome this: First, increase formal communication at the company level. Leaders should consider daily voice and video messages. Second, at the department level, consider leaving your video conference open all day so teams can communicate at any time. Third, set up a casual virtual happy hour, give a demo, etc.
4.Focus on ownership:
Building and maintaining company culture is more difficult when your workforce is geographically dispersed. Instead of focusing on culture, focus on fostering a sense of belonging and culture. One way to do this is to establish psychological safety where employees feel safe presenting ideas or sharing concerns.
5.Maintain your meeting schedule and structure:
Leaders who maintain meeting routines while creating new ways to connect, engage, brainstorm, and communicate are seeing success. The expectation of a morning start time, a strategic or tactical meeting, or even a larger general meeting keeps employees focused. The difference is that they are virtual and require full trust, productive dialogue, commitment and responsibility from everyone.
6.Trust your team:
Trust your remote team. Communicate clear goals, performance standards, and deliverables, and let your employees continue to meet those goals in their own way. This sets your team up for success by being clear on what is needed while leaving them with the “how”. Clear expectations combined with freedom to execute demonstrate trust for both remote and in-office teams.
Remember that because your team is now working from home, it doesn’t mean they always have to be active. Help them maintain structure around regular office hours and make sure they take regular breaks throughout the day, just like you should. Avoid micromanagement by wanting to know their every move because you feel a loss of control not having your staff physically in your space.
8.Create an intentional communication strategy:
Creating a communication strategy is important for in-office and remote teams, but the methods differ. These methods don’t exist remotely, so you have to design them. Set up quick chats through Slack to answer your employees’ questions. Schedule a quick Zoom call to provide feedback. Let them text you with ideas.
Manage expectations and support workers with remote work challenges: During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s vital for companies to remember that many of their employees are working from home for the first time. There is a necessary learning curve, and for those with children, it is important for companies to manage expectations and support workers with more flexibility on deadlines.
9.Define expectations and communicate:
Managing remote work is the same as managing work in the office. With both, you have to know the expectations. How are you going to measure success? When can they contact you? How fast will you respond? What are your communication preferences? How often do they need to check in? After defining expectations, stay in touch. Discuss what works and what doesn’t. Where we work does not matter when a focus is agreed upon.
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