Remote working is here to stay.
Let’s cast our minds back to March 2020 when over 100 countries had implemented some form of lockdown, forcing many companies to ask their employees to work remotely.
Fast forward to today and a large proportion of those companies' employees are still working from home. And this time it's not because of the pandemic.
Organisations are starting to realise that their workforce can do their job well, if not better when working remotely. There is no longer a need for employees to drag themselves to the office everyday since they’ve proved that they can work just as well from home.
However, having remote employees does bring its limitations and it can be difficult to manage them. Here’s where we come in.
In this blog, we’ll cover vital mistakes to avoid when managing remote employees and we’ll give you 5 successful tips to help you manage your remote teams successfully.
So let’s get straight into it.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Managing Remote Employees
Firstly, managers need to understand the factors that can make remote work, especially demanding. Otherwise, high-performing employees may experience declines in job performance and engagement when they begin to work remotely.
Here are 3 mistakes to avoid when managing remote employees:
As a manager, you won't be able to manage every little thing that your remote team does.
Micromanagement is not a good form of leadership, so don’t try to handle every aspect of your remote team’s work. This includes bombarding your employees with emails and contacting them out of work hours.
In a survey by Trinity Solutions, a staggering 79% of people said they had experienced micromanagement in the workplace, and 69% even said they were considering leaving their job because of it.
Unfortunately, micromanagement is amplified when it’s conducted remotely because of new technology, making it even more bothersome for employees than when they worked in the office.
But instead of concentrating on what your teams are doing and how many hours they’ve put in, focus on the results when measuring their productivity.
Giving employees autonomy shows that you trust them to do their work without needing to intervene. Assuming a company hires the right people, you should give those workers breathing room and trust that they will get the job done.
Lack of Communication With Your Team
A study published by the Harvard Business Review concluded that “remote workers feel shunned and left out.” If not appropriately managed, isolation and loneliness could become the basis for physiological and physical health challenges.
When employees were going into the office every morning, it was easy to discuss ideas with them when you were getting a coffee or waiting for a meeting. However, when employees start to work remotely, it’s easy to neglect this sort of communication, especially since you’re not seeing them in person every day.
So how can you fix this?
Well, managers of remote employees need to consider how they will use different forms of communication to replace face-to-face interaction.
Providing modern communication tools like company intranet is one of the best strategies to manage your remote employees if you want to see your team performing at their best.
Lack of Focus on Professional Development
An employee, in the run-up for a promotion or career development, is not judged solely on their quality of work, but also on their leadership skills, positive attitude and ability to collaborate with the team.
Without the right digital tools, employers could struggle to make this judge of character with remote workers, reducing the speed and likeliness of employees being awarded development opportunities.
In the long run, this can cause significant damage to the structure of a company.
That’s why it’s so important to have the right tools in place from the start so you can start mapping out your employees’ professional development.
Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Journey Mapping: Beginners Guide
5 Tips for Successfully Managing Remote Workers
As much as remote working can come with its challenges, there are some quick and easy things managers can start doing to ease the transition from office to remote.
1. Celebrate the wins
Recognising and celebrating employees is essential to the success of a business. It is directly linked to engagement, retention, productivity and pretty much everything else.
A Workplace Trends report found that recognition programmes have 27% higher profits on average. This shows that the bottom line is significantly impacted by consistent employee recognition strategies.
When we talk about celebrating the wins, we don’t just mean the big wins, but celebrating small wins such as meeting a tight deadline or getting through a tough week can make all the difference.
Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Journey Mapping: Beginners Guide
2. Set Deadlines
Your team should know how and when the work is expected. By setting clear expectations, your remote workers will be able to manage their time properly.
Using project management tools such as Monday.com is a great way to assign tasks and give deadlines quickly and easily. They can also stimulate communication between leadership and employees, making it easier to give important updates when teams are working remotely.
3. Be There for Your Team
In a remote environment, the team members you manage meet different emotional challenges than those in an office environment. Some may suffer from loneliness. Some may struggle to manage their time.
As a manager, you may also be the source of employee problems if you fail to respect the fact that even though they may be working remotely, they are not available 24/7. Unless it was an absolute emergency, you would want to keep communication within reasonable hours.
To be there for your team and make sure you’re supporting them, you will need to always be in communication with your employees and ask them if there is anything they need from you.
4. Have Weekly Non-work Related Team Meetings
As employees no longer have access to the social aspect of being in the office, it’s important to hold regular meetings that are non-work related.
These could be anything from holding virtual games or quizzes or a short half-hour catch up on a Friday to asking what their plans are for the weekend.
Having these weekly meetings is a great way to boost morale and check in with your employees without them feeling obliged to talk about work.
5. Track Your Employees Progress
Why not keep everyone on the same page by using cloud-based project management software?
Measure productivity of employees by tracking the number of tasks they complete each week or month. If there are multiple people working on similar tasks, you can rank these employees by their productivity.
An added benefit of an open project plan is the transparency and accountability it brings to the team.
Team members can see who is doing what and how things are going. This visibility also helps improve the team’s productivity by pushing everyone to do their best.
Looking for ways to engage your remote employees? Discover our 12 fun and actionable tips to boost workforce collaboration!