It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has made remote employment the norm for businesses of many types and sizes. It’s also no secret that managing remote employees is a challenge that must be met head-on if businesses are to operate smoothly or at least, with as few hiccups as possible. Here are seven tips for more effective remote employee management.
1. Clarify Expectations, Goals, and Guidelines—and Do So Often
This is an even more important step to take in a remote work model than it is in a traditional office setting. Employees cannot effectively perform their jobs when they feel as if they are working in a vacuum—in other words, without a real understanding of what you expect from them, what your priorities are, and the like—and managing them will be difficult.
In fact—and for the same reason—maintaining open lines of communication with remote staff is essential, whether the purpose is to discuss deadlines, challenges, expectations, work schedules (more on this below), or something else.
2. Be Considerate When It Comes To the “How” of Communication
Some teams fare best when one-on-one communication with management is handled primarily by e-mail. Others do better with phone calls, texts, video chats, or internal communications platforms. Asking employees about their communication preferences—and taking care to neither inundate them with too many communications nor to ignore any messages they send—is an effective remote employee management practice.
3. Keep Staff Abreast of Developments
This includes personnel changes, policy changes, and company successes (and challenges), as well as any new work-at-home strategies management, can share. Such communication helps employees to perceive themselves as part of a team, increasing their productivity.
4. Ask For Feedback—But Not For the Sake of Doing So
Survey employees periodically about their experience in working remotely and any changes they would like to see. However, avoid asking for this feedback if you aren’t going to make any feasible changes. It will only breed resentment of what, for many, is a stressful situation.
5. Stay Organized and Flexible
Concrete plans are a must, but so is flexibility. It’s better for employee morale—and productivity—if they can put in some or all of their hours when it’s most feasible for them (for instance, working a few hours in the evening if they’re trying to manage their children’s remote schoolwork during the day). Providing that work is of high quality or that tasks are performed properly—and that everything is on time—the “when” should not matter.
6. Establish and Maintain Personal Connections with Team Members
This is another strategy for ensuring that employees don’t equate working from home (or from another remote location) with working alone, without support from management. Establishing connections can involve holding informal video “catchups” or “lunch dates.” It can also be more inventive. We know of one manager who connects with her team via an online blog.
7. Demonstrate Your Trust
If all is going well with your remote employees—in other words, they are doing their jobs and doing them right—there’s no reason to doubt them. Remember that just because you can’t see them at work, doesn’t mean the work isn’t being done. The more you demonstrate your trust in your remote staff—for example, by avoiding micro-managing and over-questioning—the better their morale and in turn, their performance, now and down the road.
At E-Complish, we believe adopting strategies to effectively manage remote employees—during the pandemic and after it subsides—isn’t all that difficult. We also believe it’s not hard to implement the right payment solutions when you partner with a payment solutions provider whose menu of options is extensive.
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