Managing Remote Teams: A Guide
The world of work is changing, and businesses in just about every sector are including remote workers in their teams.
There are many reasons for the shift, but it brings unique challenges in terms of employee management. How do you keep employees engaged when they are working from home? How do you ensure they are productive? There are no set rules, but there are some key principles to keep in mind.
Whether your employees are working remotely on a temporary basis or you are embracing remote workers as part of your long-term strategy, this guide will explain how to keep them engaged and productive.
Invest in collaboration tools and technology
Your remote employees will only be successful if they have the right tools. This includes not only a laptop and a mobile phone but possibly headsets, web cameras, additional monitors, and a supportive seat. You should also invest in CoAmplifi to ensure remote employees are able to communicate and collaborate efficiently and securely.
Stay in regular communication
It is important that communication is not only regular but also two-way. If senior managers make decisions and then inform employees that a decision has been made, they are likely to feel overlooked and unimportant. Employees may not like every decision that is made, but being engaged with the decision-making process makes it more likely that they will embrace change.
It is also important to give remote workers the opportunity to socialize with their colleagues as they would do during breaks in the office environment. Human connection and a sense of belonging to the group are vitally important for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Define roles and set clear objectives
To help remote workers stay focused, ensure that every person has a clearly defined role and responsibilities. In fact, it is often more effective to prioritize outcomes over the processes people follow to get there, as employees have a better understanding of how their role contributes to the company’s success. When employees know why their job is important, they will be more engaged and should feel more secure.
Be flexible and show trust
Working from home brings unique challenges, especially for people who are trying to balance work around family and childcare commitments. Rather than insisting that remote employees attend virtual meetings at a specific time, work together to find a time that works for all participants. Give them the trust and flexibility to be able to work on tasks when it works for them, as long as they are completed by an agreed-upon time/date. If you are constantly checking in with them, they are likely to feel pressured and potentially increasingly disengaged.
Working remotely can be a lonely place, and it is easy for remote workers to feel overlooked or that their contributions are not valued. Rather than sending the occasional email or virtual pat on the back, take steps to recognize your remote employees and their achievements in a more tangible way.
Sometimes remote workers might be regarded as less involved in the company than those who are in the office, but this should not be the case. Make sure that your remote employees are afforded the same opportunities for professional development as those you see in person. In addition, if there is a significant decision to be made either within the team or on a company-wide scale, ensure that remote workers can contribute and that their opinions are valued.