How to Manage Remote Workers
One of the biggest challenges faced by employers in the last couple of years is managing a remote workforce. The number of people working from home has increased by around 1.69 million since 1998.
Since the pandemic, some workers have returned to the office on a full-time basis, others are still working remotely, and many are enjoying the benefits of hybrid working. There is no doubt that managing a remote workforce is not always easy, you don’t have the benefit of seeing what your employees are doing or being able to communicate face to face. These are some of the ways you can successfully manage your remote workforce.
The key to managing a remote workforce is ensuring that communication is strong. Simply checking in on your employees to ensure they are doing well and asking if they need anything will help them feel valued. You don’t want to micro-manage your employees but if you neglect to communicate with them, they might not stay on course with their work. It is also a good idea to set up video calls at least every couple of weeks. Nothing can really compete with face-to-face communication, even if it is via video, so make sure you factor this in.
There is a high level of trust required when you have staff working remotely, and it is vital that you do this with your employees, unless they give you a reason not to. According to a study by Durham University Business School and the University of Coimbra in Portugal, a strong level of trust boosts productivity and harmony in the workplace. You can expect that they might jump out for errands more than they would if they are working in the office and that they will have day-to-day distractions, but unless you are worried about their output, leave them to it. They will feel more valued if you show trust towards them, and will probably be more likely to go the extra mile for you.
Although you don’t want to micro-manage your remote workers, there has to be some level of accountability. In short, you need to ensure the work is getting done. If you set expectations for the employee, this will ensure that they know what you want and when you want it for. These expectations/deadlines could be on a weekly/monthly basis to allow some flexibility.
Increase Social Interactions
When you work in an office, employees get the opportunity for casual conversations, and this is one of the downsides of working remotely. Employees don’t get the usual social interactions they enjoy in the workplace. It is, therefore, important to incorporate social activities for remote staff, even if it’s just a Friday night quiz via zoom, coffee morning or online lunch. Also, arranging face to face catch ups where possible. It can really help to keep morale high.
Plan Calls and Meetings
If you want to speak to employees, make sure you plan your calls and meetings in advance. You should not assume that employees are skiving if you can’t reach them when they call. They could be taking the dog for a walk or be engaged in their work. If we are realistic about it, of course, employees are not going to sit at their desks in the same way as they would in the workplace. They will pop out to the shop or even go to the gym, but as long as they meet your expectations and are available when you need them, this shouldn’t be a concern.
There is the potential to improve your productivity with remote workers if you manage them in the right way. Show your remote workers how you can work well on your own, while also maintaining a strong work and life balance. Offer advice and support in maintaining high levels of productivity. Strong leadership is necessary to ensure your remote employees are working well on their own.
If you are looking to fill a remote role or any others, get in touch with us or upload your vacancy (link to upload vacancy) and we will get back to you.