Tips for Managing Remote Workers Effectively
Although many people have returned to the office, hybrid and fully-remote working is still in full swing, with 60% of UK workers surveyed saying they prefer hybrid working. However, for those managing remote employees, there may be a number of challenges to overcome.
Luckily, there are different methods for managing remote workers effectively. From clear communication, to avoiding the temptation to micromanage - these are some of the best ways to get the most out of your remote team.
The Challenges of Managing Remote Teams
It’s no secret that being a manager can be quite a difficult task at times, but limited facetime with your employees can make it even more challenging.
Some of the biggest difficulties faced by those managing remote workers include:
Problems keeping track of work and productivity
Lack of collaboration
Takes longer to build rapport
Difficulty judging morale
Resisting the urge to micromanage
Lack of communication
Trust seems to be one of the biggest issues when it comes to managing hybrid and remote workers. In fact, a 2020 survey of over 1,200 people found that managers tend to trust remote workers less than those in the office. However, 55% of workers surveyed reported better concentration when working from home, contributing to better productivity.
How to Manage Employees Working Remotely
When it comes to managing remote employees effectively in order to overcome some of these challenges, there are a few different tried-and-tested methods to adopt to ensure an excellent working relationship with colleagues working from home.
Communication is Key
When you’re managing remote teams, clear communication is absolutely vital so that everyone is working towards the same goals.
During remote meetings, you’re unable to read people’s body language in the same way you would if you were face to face, so it’s important that you’re using clear verbal communication so everyone is on the same page.
Outline Your Expectations
Under the same umbrella as clear communication, outlining your expectations is also key. Whether they’re a new employee, or you’ve worked together for years - some of the key points to discuss include:
How and when they’re expected to work
Desired level of daily communication
Managing a work/life balance
Although it’s important that your colleague is delivering work at the expected rate when working from home, it’s also vital that they don’t overcompensate for the lack of visibility by exceeding their working hours and maintaining a poor work/life balance.
Setting out clear expectations should help to manage this and ensure both you and your colleague are on the same page when it comes to what is required from them.
When you’re managing remote or hybrid workers, one of the only ways to ensure that you’re communicating effectively is to schedule regular meetings with them.
From regular one-to-ones to discuss performance and highlight any issues, to catching up on joint projects or having brainstorming sessions - frequent catch-ups will ensure the entire team is working collaboratively. It will also help to avoid contributing to the 67% of remote workers who reported feeling less connected to their colleagues when working from home.
However, it’s important to try and schedule these meetings in, rather than cold-calling your colleagues - especially if the company you work for adopts a flexible working policy. This will help to avoid interrupting employees when they’re working on important tasks, helping to maintain productivity levels, but will also give them time to prepare notes for the meetings when they’ve not been caught off-guard. In fact, in a recent survey, 64% of those surveyed reported being more enthusiastic about meetings when they’ve been pre-planned, so it pays to just pop an invite in the calendar.
For times when you and your team want to schedule a face-to-face meeting, hiring a meeting room is an excellent solution. Whether it’s for a quick brainstorming session, company-wide training, or development meetings - meeting rooms can provide a great, collaborative space for you and your team to catch up in.
Have Some Trust
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of managing a remote team is letting go and trusting your colleagues to get on with their job without being tempted to micromanage them.
In this case, the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ often isn’t relevant, and not having visibility over their team can cause some managers to become more controlling than they would usually be in a traditional office setting.
However, micromanaging can have a negative impact on those being managed and has been found to contribute to higher stress levels, lower self-esteem and reduced productivity, so it’s important to try and recognise the signs in order to keep your team happy and motivated.
If you do find yourself slipping into micromanaging habits, try to take some time to reflect and reframe your thinking. For example, is your need to micromanage affecting the productivity of both you and your team, thus, having a negative effect on the company? Additionally, you may want to look at your standards and rein in your perfectionism - ‘good enough’ is sometimes good enough.
How to Support Employees Working From Home
Whether they work from home a few days per week, or they’re fully-remote, it’s important to offer the same support to your employees working from home as you would to those in the office.
From ensuring they’ve got everything they need to effectively carry out their role from home, to taking an interest in their wellbeing - it’s important to support both remote and on-site employees on all levels. In fact, a study carried out by the American Psychological Association, found that 81% of workers said that how employers support mental health is an important consideration when looking for companies to work for, so it’s also a vital factor for retaining talent, too.
Aside from wellbeing, offering flexible working is another great way to ensure your remote workers feel supported. Whether they need to adjust their work schedules around care responsibilities, or are more productive at certain times during the day - having the option to work according to their needs can help to boost productivity, morale and ensure they feel valued by the company.
From controlling the urge to micromanage, to booking meeting rooms for team catch-ups - managing a remote team can be an absolute breeze when you know how. Explore our spaces at Bruntwood today to see how our meeting rooms and flexible office solutions could help you and your hybrid or remote team to thrive.