Managers who understand how to support remote workers will find themselves ahead of the curve. They’ll be able to attract top talent and retain great employees. In fact, most of the world’s largest companies started as small startups where founders were remote.
As companies continue to embrace remote working, they will find that it’s important to provide proper management training as well as coaching and mentoring. This way, remote workers can feel supported and encouraged to succeed.
As someone who has both been part of a remote and lead a remote team for more than 10 years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of how to manage a remote team.
With so many people now working from home I wanted to help those who have found themselves managing a remote teaem so I’ve compiled a list of 11 tips to help managers support their teams remotely without driving yourself crazy in the process. These tips will help managers become more effective leaders and less stressed.
Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your gaming room or home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.
Connect frequently and communicate constantly
Remote teams should communicate frequently with each other. This is the best way to keep everyone on the same page, and it’s also a great way for your team members to feel connected to you as their manager. Communicate often, especially when there are changes or new projects that need attention. If you don’t have an in-person meeting scheduled every week, make sure you send out weekly updates via email or Slack.
Edward Mellet, Director at WikiJob, a website job seekers use to share information about Finance careers and companies, says that “Employee isolation is, in my opinion, one of the most prevalent problems in a remote team. Utilizing technology intelligently to expedite communications and workflows by automating and continuously optimizing the processes involved not only saves time and resources on everyday activities but also decreases the cognitive load on people, resulting in enhanced performance. In addition to the aforementioned advantages, the analytics provided by automation technologies facilitate tracking of KPIs, allowing
for the establishment of performance benchmarks that may then be gamified to create a competitive environment among employees and boost productivity.”
Be clear about expectations. Be explicit about what you want them to do. For example, if you ask someone to complete a task, say exactly what you expect from them: “I need you to finish this project by next Friday.”
Open lines of communication are the most important part of leading your remote team. You might tell a remote employee, “Hey, I noticed you haven’t been responding to emails lately. Is everything okay?” Or maybe they’re not getting enough work done because of a lack of resources. Either way, it’s important to let them know so they can address any issues.
Managers must establish trust before having difficult conversations. It may be hard to talk to a remote worker who isn’t physically present, but it’s crucial to build a relationship first. Start by asking questions like, “How are things going? Are you happy at your current job?” Then, once you’ve built rapport, you can move into more serious topics such as performance reviews or salary negotiations.
Set personal expectations with your employees. When you hire people remotely, you lose some control over how much time they spend working because they’re not in the office. But you still have the ability to set boundaries around their responsibilities. Make sure you understand what tasks they’ll be doing, and give them guidelines on how long those tasks will take.
If you’re managing a remote team, you probably already know that it takes a lot of effort to get things done. That’s why it’s essential to create a culture where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. The best way to foster collaboration is through regular meetings.
Poor communications are a huge challenge for remote teams. Robert Smith, Head of Marketing at Psychometric Success points out, “poor communication is one of the most difficult aspects of supervising distant workers.” In order to truly build a team and environment where you can have challenging talks, you have to set expectations clearly to begin with, then make sure you are very liberal and generous with your communication practices.
Review the company’s remote work policy so your team knows what rules apply. Some companies allow employees to work from home while others require them to be in the office. Others limit the number of hours they can work from home. Find out which policies apply to your team and follow them closely.
Don’t obsess over hours worked vs. productivity. While it’s tempting to micromanage your remote workers’ schedules, it won’t help anyone. Instead, focus on helping your team meet its goals. If you notice that one of your team members is taking longer than usual to complete a task, offer guidance instead of nitpicking.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that remote workers aren’t productive. They might not be, but that doesn’t mean they’re slacking off. In fact, many remote workers report feeling more engaged than their co-workers who sit in the office all day.
Own up to mistakes and identify opportunities for improvement. Remote teams don’t always work perfectly, especially when there’s so little face-to-face interaction. So it’s important to admit when you make a mistake. And when you see an opportunity for improvement, seize it.
For example, if you realize that a member of your team hasn’t been communicating well with other members, reach out to him or her privately and explain the problem. Don’t wait until someone complains about it.
You should also recognize when your team needs help. Maybe your remote worker has a tough deadline coming up and he or she needs extra assistance. Or perhaps your team needs additional training to do their jobs better. Whatever the case, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Embrace office hours for Q&A sessions
Office hours allows managers to quickly address urgent issues without having to schedule a formal meeting. You can use this tool to answer questions about company policies, discuss problems with coworkers, or even just chat casually. The important part here is that it’s one-on-one time with you and th member of your team.
It’s the same kind of situation you had in college when you went to visit your professors during their office hours to get help.
Maria Britton, CEO, Trade Show Labs pointed out that, “1-on-1’s shouldn’t just be for in-person employees. Have these frequent, casual meetings with remote employees as well. Use those times to check in on your remote employees, asking them about their wellbeing, struggles with their tasks, and whether or not they feel burnt out. Encourage them to be as open and honest as possible, supporting them and helping draft solutions to any problems they are facing.”
But keep in mind that these types of discussions tend to be less structured than traditional meetings. For example, it’s common to start an office hour by saying something like, “I’m here today to answer any questions you have.” This approach works great for small, informal chats, but it may not be the right situation if you need to talk about a major project.
By employing the practice of keeping office hours, managers can easily keep track of what’s happening within their organization and could potentially see fewer issues come up during the week.
Office hours are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of your remote team and track of what’s important.
Remove hierarchical boundaries
One great way to really establish a great relationship with your remote team is to make sure that you remove any hierarchical boundaries between you and them.
This means making sure that there are no “bosses” or “managers” on your team. Instead, everyone should feel like they’re all on the same level.
It’s considered by some to be a bit of an unconventional approach but it’s working wonders some companies.
Stanford MBA and strategy lead at Resume Worded points out, “As a remote team manager, I have to ensure that there is no hierarchy between my team and me. I have to be available to them 24/7. We have an open line of communication and have established ways of getting in touch with each other quickly. What I understand is that all the people on my team are equal. I don’t give any special treatment to anyone. I make people understand that ‘I am willing to listen to you, trust you and help you in any way possible.’ They should give their best; in return, I will support them.
It also helps to give them space! Remote workers don’t want to feel like they’re constantly under scrutiny—they need time and space to focus without feeling like someone is breathing down their neck 24/7.”
Establish boundaries and respect your team’s personal space
Having fun together helps people bond and build trust. This is an inescapable truth and a vital part of building a team.
If your remote team actually enjoys each other’s company, then it’s likely that they’ll be even better when it comes working together. But if they feel isolated from each other, or disconnected from the organization and their colleagues, then they won’t enjoy being at work as much.
So how do you create a positive environment? Here are some tips:
Be clear about expectations. Make sure everyone knows exactly what’s expected from them. If you want them to check emails every morning, tell them. If you want to know where they are at all times, let them know.
Give credit where credit is due. When someone does something good, give them recognition. It doesn’t matter whether it was a big thing or a small thing. Just acknowledge it.
Make sure you’re available. Be accessible. Let your team know that you’re willing to take calls and respond to messages whenever they need you.
Give feedback. Encourage your team to share ideas and opinions. Ask them what they think about things.
Don’t micromanage. Your team will appreciate it when you let them make decisions and solve problems themselves. They’ll also appreciate it when you step back and let them handle things.
Remember that your team members are human beings too. So treat them well and show them love.
You might find that your remote workers aren’t always happy with the arrangement. That’s okay! There’s no reasonwhy you should force yourself into a job that you don’t enjoy.
You can still provide value to your team while maintaining approriate separation beetween leadership and the team, if and as needed.
Keep your ear to the ground. Listen to what your team has to say. Don’t ignore their concerns and complaints. And don’t assume that because they’re remote, they don’t care about the company.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running a business, but remember that your team is there to help you succeed.
They’re just as invested in your success as you are. So listen to what they have to say and act accordingly.
Set aside designated times for socializing. Have lunchtime conversations every Friday, go bowling once a month, or play board games after work. These activities will help you stay connected to your team and maintain a healthy relationship.
Give opportunities for teammates to support each other. Create a culture of camaraderie by encouraging your team to do life with one another.
Encourage collaboration. Give your team the opportunity to collaborate on projects. You may not be able to physically see them, but they’re still part of your team.
Create a sense of belonging. Help your team feel like they belong to the same family. Show them that you care about them by
Team kickoff meetings, either daily or weekly, help clarify roles and expectations.
Provide meaningful feedback and tons of encouragement
As more and more employees are working from home, managers need to find new ways to support their team members. One of the challenges of remote work is that it can be difficult to provide feedback and encouragement when you’re not in the same physical space. However, there are a few things managers can do to help.
First, try to schedule regular check-ins with each of your remote employees. This will give you a chance to touch base and see how they’re doing. You can also use this time to provide feedback and encourage them in their work.
Additionally, try to create opportunities for virtual socializing and bonding. This can help remote employees feel connected to their colleagues and motivated to do their best work.
Developing a sense of belonging among your remote staff is as important as anything else you do as a leader. Abdul Saboor, a full stack developer at The Stock Dork, says that ” it’s crucial to keep a sense of community and build a sense of friendliness with your team when working with remote personnel. To do this, use group chat channels and take the time to inquire about people’s moods in meetings. The best way to help remote workers through tough times is to encourage open lines of communication amongst them.”
Employees who feel valued will be happier and more engaged at their jobs.
Ask for and listen to their feedback.This helps you understand what your team needs and provides an opportunity for you to improve.
Offer praise and rewards. Recognize people who go above and beyond. Offer incentives for doing great work.
Reward people for being helpful and kind.
Communicating with employees about what you’re doing with them helps build trust and respect.
Give your remote team members development opportunities. If you notice that someone is struggling, the most important thing you can do is show that you care about them as a person and offer them the support they need, whether it’s connecting them with the right resource, additional training, or a mentor.
You should create a space where people can talk about what’s happening outside of work. This helps them feel less isolated and gives them something positive to focus on.
Don’t overlook the importance of making sure your team feels supported.
Uncover and document challenges so you can all work toward a positive solution
If you’re a manager, there’s a good chance you’re working with remote employees. And if you’re not, there’s a good chance you soon will be. With more and more companies adopting work-from-home policies, it’s important for managers to know how to support their remote employees. Here are a few tips:
First, don’t just assume that everything is going fine because you’re not seeing your employees in person. Be sure to check in regularly and ask how they’re doing. It’s also important to give remote employees the same opportunities for career development and advancement that you would offer to on-site employees.
Second, try to create a sense of community among your remote employees. This can be done by scheduling regular virtual happy hours or coffee chats, for example. You can also encourage them to participate in online forums or discussion groups related to their work.
Don’t forget that challenges may arise when working with remote employees. It’s important to uncover and document these challenges so you can all work toward a positive solution. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to successfully managing your remote workforce.
Objectives help them understand how their work contributes to company goals and one the best ways to overcome these challenges is to set clear objectives for each employee. This way, everyone understands how their work contributes to the bigger picture.
Additionally, regular check-ins and communication are essential for keeping remote employees engaged and motivated.
With a little bit of effort, managers can successfully support their remote employees. By taking the time to understand the challenges and needs of wfh workers, you can create a productive and happy team.
When employees see their work contributing to company goals, they feel greater job satisfaction and are less stressed out about their jobs.
Understand the common challenges of remote work
Now that working from home is the new normal for many of us, it’s important to understand the challenges that come with remote work.
One of the biggest challenges is feelings of isolation and loneliness. When you’re used to working in an office surrounded by colleagues, it can be tough to adjust to working in isolation. That’s why it’s important for managers to take steps to support their remote employees.
There are a few things managers can do to help their remote employees feel more connected.
First, make an effort to stay in touch with your team regularly. Send them regular emails and set up regular video calls, even if it’s just for a quick catch-up.
Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges of working remotely so it’s important for managers to create opportunities for social interaction by organizing regular virtual social events, like happy hours or coffee breaks.
Managers can also use this opportunity to teach their remote employees about the importance of networking and building relationships.
Be understanding and flexible when it comes to issues like childcare or scheduling conflicts.
Distractions at home can impact productivity and lead to burnout.
Managers must be aware of the challenges of remote work, especially those related to family life.
Remote work is here to stay, and we should all level up our communications game and provide more engagement from with our remote workers.
Remote work has become the norm for many people, but there are still some challenges associated with it. Managers need to be aware of those challenges and take steps to mitigate them.
By taking these steps, managers can help their remote employees feel more connected and supported. And that can make all the difference when it comes to productivity and job satisfaction.
Provide your remote team with the best technology and tools
It’s important to provide your team with the right tools and resources.
Make sure everyone has a reliable computer or laptop computer that is capable of running the apps and programs they need.
Whether your office uses Macs like mine does, or if you’re using Windows machines, getting them high-quality, professional grade tools is vital if you want them to be able to deliver their best.
You should also reimburse employees for any necessary expenses, like office supplies or software.
Additionally, it’s helpful to give employees access to resources like an online library or training materials.
In addition, consider offering a stipend to cover additional expenses incurred while working from home, such as increased electricity bills or internet costs. After all, the company is saving a ton of money on those expenses themselves, so it only seems right that the company should take care of some of these expenses that their remote teams are incurring.
Hi-quality internet access is an absolute must for remote employees.
Remote teams should take advantage of tools like Slack, Zoom, etc., to communicate effectively.
Sean Nguyen, who runs Internet Advisor, says “One of the ways that you can support your remote employees is to provide them with the technology they need to get the job done from home. Working from home means that your employees might not have all the tools that they have in an office. If there’s software that you’d usually install on in-office computers, think about how you can get that software on your remote employees’ devices.
Even something as simple as helping your employees to get a better internet connection can make a difference. Not everyone has an extremely fast internet connection, but if you can build internet into the job benefits in some way or another, you might help your employees to end up having a better experience when they work online, transfer documents, etc. ”
By taking these steps, managers can help their remote employees stay connected and productive, no matter where they are working from.
Trust your remote employees
Your employees are your most important asset, and you should treat them like they’re irreplaceable.
it can’t be overstated how important it is to trust your employees. If you hire competent individuals, then give them the freedom to work from home and complete their tasks in their own way.
Micromanaging will only lead to frustration on both sides.
Managers should be flexible when it comes to work hours and deadlines. With remote work, there is often more flexibility in terms of when and where work gets done. As long as the work is getting done, try not to be too rigid about when it needs to be completed.
Managers should not try to control every aspect of an employee’s work life. Instead, let your employees know what is expected of them and allow them to do their jobs however they see fit.
If you have concerns about your employees’ performance, talk to them directly. Don’t micromanage or hover over them. Let them know that you value their contributions and want to hear about any problems they may encounter.
This approach will help ensure that your employees feel appreciated and valued by their manager. It will also help them feel comfortable bringing up issues if they run into trouble.
It’s also important to give your remote employees autonomy.
As mentioned earlier, remote workers tend to have more flexibility than traditional employees. They don’t necessarily always have to report to a specific location at a certain time. But of course that depends on the requirements of the job.
However, this doesn’t mean that managers shouldn’t set expectations for their employees. Managers should still expect their employees to meet deadlines and follow through on assignments.
They just don’t need to be present in person to make sure that happens.
Trusting your team members means trusting that they’ll get the job done. With proper communication, management, and trust, you can successfully manage a remote workforce.
Communicate expectations clearly
Employees want to know what’s expected of them, and how they’ll be rewarded. They won’t feel valued unless they know where they stand.
If I’ve learned anything over the years of working from home, there is nothing more important than communication.
It’s really hard to even over-communicate. Because we don’t sit next to each other in cubicles, or offices, communication that was easily taken advantage of in the office is completely gone. So using Slack or something else like it to talk frequently is essential.
Also – you cannot forget to set the expectation for when things should be done and how they should be done.
When working with my development team, clearly outlining what we’re trying to achieve and the milestones at each step along the way that are to be reached helps us all stay on the same page.
Employees want clear expectations and feedback on how their actions impact the overall goal.
Make sure your employees understand what success looks like.
Do an audit of your current processes to identify areas where people feel stressed and overloaded.
Don’t assume that just because someone isn’t complaining doesn’t mean there aren’t problems.
Define objectives and measure progress
Objectives help people understand what they should be doing every day.
One of the challenges of managing remote employees is that it can be difficult to create clarity around work goals and objectives.
Without face-to-face interaction, it can be easy for miscommunication to occur and open up the possibility for work to start to drift off course.
When everyone is in the same office, it’s easy to stay on track and hold each other accountable. But when people are working remotely, it’s more important than ever to have clear goals and expectations. By setting objectives and milestones, you can help your team stay focused and productive.
One way to combat this is to use objectives to create clarity. By setting clear goals and milestones, you can help your team stay focused and on track.
Regular check-ins and progress reports can help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that work is proceeding as planned.
Employees want to know how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization.
Clarity helps people understand what they should do every day.
Keep in mind that goals should be specific and measurable.
This has been the biggest help for me and the team members I work with remotely.
We’ve implemented a ticketing system where not only our clients can submit support requests, but also internal teams can also submit quantifiable deliverable requests to each other.
We’ve used Freshworks for this along with a cocktail of an intranet, webforms, and email routing, and it’s been instrumental in helping us track and measure progress.
If you’re not sure whether or not your goals are clear enough, ask yourself these questions:
Are my goals too vague? Are they too broad? Do I know exactly what I’m supposed to accomplish?
Give regular updates about progress. It’s important to keep your employees updated with information about the project so they know what’s going on.
This can include status updates, progress reports, and any changes to the plan.
You might even consider having weekly meetings via video conference or phone call to discuss progress.
The key here is to communicate regularly. Employees appreciate knowing what’s happening and being able to see progress.
It’s important to let your employees know what’s happening with projects and tasks. This gives them a chance to see how their work impacts the company as a whole.
You might even consider using tools such as Trello or Basecamp to keep your team updated on project status and deliverables.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of management.
Make sure your employees know what’s expected from them and what they need to do to succeed.
A lack of communication can lead to confusion and frustration among your employees.
If you don’t provide feedback, your employees won’t know how well they’re performing.
They’ll also struggle to meet deadlines and complete assignments.
By providing regular feedback, you can help your employees improve and grow professionally.
Feedback doesn’t just mean telling someone what they did wrong.
Instead, give constructive criticism in a positive frame of reference and offer suggestions for improvement.
This will allow your employees to learn new skills and develop better habits.
Cultivate a connected and inclusive culture
One of the most important things you can do is to cultivate a connected and inclusive culture.
Make sure everyone feels like they’re part of the team, even if they’re not in the office every day. That means being open to communication and keeping lines of communication open.
Encourage employees to interact with each other, whether that’s through video conferencing, chatting online, or even just sending each other funny work-related memes. The more connected they feel, the better they’ll work together.
Create opportunities for team building, even if it’s just virtual happy hours or games. It’s important for remote employees to get to know and trust each other.
Inclusive culture helps remote workers feel part of the team so a budget for in-person visits can help build a sense of inclusion.
Building a real team and real camaraderie is essential for success despite the fact that they’re distributed in various locations because remote workers often feel lonely and disconnected from their colleagues.
Foster social interactions among your remote employees by hosting regular meetings, events, and other group activities.
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