Technology has changed the way we work forever. It’s made it easy for anyone to log into a computer and connect anywhere in the world. Of course, this means people are going to use these capabilities to work from anywhere.
Reports show that at least 4.7 million people now work from home at least half the week. If you want to provide a great place to work, you need to give this flexibility to your team.
If your team is moving away from the office, investing in remote worker management is necessary for running a tight ship. Follow the six tips below for employees working remotely.
1. Set Expectations Early
You can’t walk over to someone’s office and check on how they’re doing when you have a remote workforce. In-person contact is one of the primary ways managers check in with their people. It helps them stay on top of things and help employees know what work they should stay focused on.
With remote work, this is much harder to handle. Communication can become difficult for people when they aren’t face-to-face with other people. If you want people to know what tasks they have and what to prioritize, you need a way to communicate this easily.
Most remote workforces make use of online project management software to accomplish this. This software allows you to build teams, create projects, assign tasks, and set deadlines for assignments. All someone needs to do to figure out what they need to accomplish is sign into the platform to look at their task list.
2. Keep People Social
Social isolation is a real thing that happens when people work by themselves. Humans are social creatures. Most people need to interact with other people to make it through their days happy.
Social interaction is more difficult when you don’t have a way to talk with others easily. It’s up to you to make sure people get the interaction they need.
You can start by giving your people an easy way to chat with their colleagues. Many organizations use chat room software like Slack to accomplish that.
You can use Slack to create channels for specific issues. Start by creating a general channel for your team to socialize without any mention of work. After that, you can dedicate your other channels to project-related talk.
Of course, chatting will only get you so far. You can help your team socialize more by providing them the ability to hop on video calls. Set up regular team meetings with video software so you can discuss work and chat face-to-face.
3. Equip Your Team
It takes a different set of tools to work from home. Not everyone will have what they need to do their job themselves. It’s up to you to give them what they need.
Your first goal is to make sure every person has a computer to work on. You don’t need to go overboard and buy top-of-the-line equipment. A simple laptop with WiFi is all most people will need.
If your team works with sensitive information, you also need to make security a priority. You can do this with a VPN. Most hardware firewalls have VPN software installed, so ensure your team has a client installed on their home workstation and connects to it before they start working.
The final step to equipping your team is training. Not everyone may know how to operate virtually. You’ll need to obtain video courses for training or take care of it yourself in the office.
A great onboarding process can help make sure people learn what they need. Visit Workbright.com to get started.
4. Don’t Micromanage
Yes, you’re going to have less control over your team when they aren’t in the office the entire day. No, you shouldn’t make a habit of bugging your employees to keep track of what they’re doing.
There’s a reason that you hired the people who are on your team. They’re great at what they do. If you want to be a great manager, give your employees working remotely the freedom to do their jobs independently.
Not micromanaging is an excellent habit for both your in-house team and your remote employees. Nobody likes having people watch over them at all times. It makes them feel untrustworthy and as if you don’t believe they can do their jobs correctly.
5. Keep Flexible Schedules
The days of a strict work schedule in the office are becoming less common in the digital age. Remote work has shown people that they can work at any hour of the day and still stay productive. Providing a flexible work schedule for your team will help them stay productive and feel more appreciated.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to allow everyone to work in the middle of the night. The chances are that you have clients, so people still need to be around to meet their needs.
Try to keep most of your team around during regular work hours if you can. If someone needs to take off for a few hours to handle an errand, allow them to do so. As long as they make up those hours and get their work accomplished, a little flexibility shouldn’t be a problem.
6. Stay Available
It’s harder for people to come to you with problems when they can’t stroll down to the office to chat. When you go remote, you must counter this problem by making sure you’re always available to your team.
Set up one-on-one time with each employee to go over their concerns. Make sure you listen to respond to any problem they have. Your goal is to make sure they’re comfortable coming to you whenever they face issues.
If you can, set aside time every week for employees for people to request individual calls. When people know you make time for them, they will be less likely to keep quiet about problems.
Remote Worker Management Needs to Be Handled Differently
Managing a workforce remotely is never going to be the same as managing one in an office. Make sure you use the remote worker management tips above to keep your team running smoothly.
If you want to learn more about managing a team, head back to our blog. Our management tips will tell you everything you need to know.