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Managing Remote Employees a Guide

Posted: Mon 30 Nov 2020 11:30 am
by Shobana S
There’s an inexpressible comfort in showing up for work every day, settling down in your cubicle, getting ready to release the rush of adrenaline that fills you up as you embark on a new project. You say hi to your colleague in the next cubicle, boot your system, and do what you do best  —  launch into your work mode.

After all, how can anything replace the warmth of human communication? When you’re working with a team and each member is on board and engaged, passing subtle physical gestures to each other, or you’re being recognized and rewarded for the work you’ve put in, or you’re simply in a conference room discussing the work strategy with your team, nothing could possibly restore the feeling of face-to-face interaction. You’re at your desk and you involuntarily know what to do  —  it’s your casual, comfortable routine.

And snap.

The entirety of this work routine has been tossed into oblivion. In fact, remote work can completely take over the working process and in all likelihood become the future of every organization. The pandemic has only initiated the remote working procedure, but it might as well continue regardless.
But why were companies initially reluctant to opt for remote work culture?

Remote working has its own challenges. For instance, employees can slip into isolation. When you’re used to arriving at your office at the same time every day and interacting with the same set of people, and you’re suddenly no longer able to meet any of your colleagues, it’s normal to feel isolated. When there’s a team pushing you to constantly give your best, you shoot your productivity levels right up and deliver your finest work. On the other hand, there can be so many distractions at home, and not having a motivating work environment doesn’t particularly help, either.

If you’re a manager, you can regularly monitor your team, communicate with them, and understand when to push harder. In remote culture, you can’t really physically see how your team is doing. Everybody is working at their own pace without really knowing where each of them is at, or how much they’ve progressed. This creates a major communication gap and creates a bridge between the employees.

When it comes to hiring, recruiters are unsure if they can onboard the new employees easily. How can one be too sure if the new employee can take up challenges with respect to work when there’s no face-to-face interaction? How can one assess the person’s potential?

Everything can get blurry. However, with the right management of remote working environments, the workflow can be smooth-sailing.

So, how do you effectively manage your remote employees?

-> On preventing micromanaging
  • Refrain from micromanaging your employees.
  • It’s understandable that you would want to keep track of all that your employee is doing. However, it’s necessary to give your employee space and time needed to finish the given task. Nagging your employee every hour can be counter-productive. Trust that your employee is on the right path, and only check on him/her regularly.
  • If your employees are up-to-date with deadlines and submissions, believe that they’re working productively.
-> On setting expectations and building communication strategies
  • It’s extremely important to let your employees know about the guidelines and work expectations. Employees will have a lot of questions. Be available and prepared to answer their queries, review basics, set boundaries, and make them understand the work priorities.
  • Building the right communication strategy is so vital for a trouble-free workflow. Choose the right communication channel. Whether it’s Slack or Zoom or Microsoft Teams, choose a channel that everybody can communicate on so that all the members of the team are on the same page.
  • Urge for daily work updates, especially from those employees that are new or introverted. This helps create a value-driven, focused work culture.
-> On allowing a collaborative work environment
  • If your employee is going to spend most of his/her day at home working, it’s crucial to have an encouraging and collaborative environment. When the employee is recognized by the community for the contributions he/she is making, they’re motivated to work harder, and this, in turn, drives them to achieve more.
  • So, make your employees feel like they’re important by recognizing their work, and also rewarding them occasionally.
-> On incorporating work-life balance
  • Let’s face it, an employee who overworks can also eventually lose his will to work.
  • Understanding that nobody can work all the time, and pushing for breaks or engaging in team meetings helps accelerate productivity even more. Allow some flexibility in your employee’s work schedule.
And this leads us to:

-> On integrating video conferencing
  • Building a connection with your employees can supercharge remote work. Virtual meetings can help keep track of what your employees are currently working on, and also help devise strategies for the same. There are over 300 million users participating in Zoom meetings every day. Incorporate video conferences and virtual meetings into your day-to-day schedule. This also creates a sense of working together among your employees.
  • Follow the right etiquette during video conferences to have an actual work-like experience from the comfort of your homes.
-> On utilizing productivity tools during meetings
  • While online meetings can be good to keep track of the employees’ progress, they also tend to take a lot of time and kill productivity. There are so many productivity tools ( available online, that make meetings so simple and easy to carry forward. Make the most out of them to escalate your virtual meeting experience.
-> On providing feedback systems
  • One can never emphasize enough the importance of feedback systems. Provide weekly anonymous feedback systems to understand the issues that your employees are facing. This helps enhance the management of remote working altogether.
The whole process of navigating through remote working can be scary, but it’s the present and the future, so embracing the remote work culture can finally create the change that the digital world is advancing towards!

[Disclosure: the poster is a Digital Marketer at Inc.]