Managing Remote Employees: 5 Tips and Best Practices

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Numerous studies have shown that working remotely is more productive than working in an office environment. Working from home resulted in a 13% performance increase, due to a combination of a calmer and more convenient work environment and fewer sick days.

It has been emphasized time and time again that having a remote team is very beneficial in getting projects done. However, it’s only natural that not seeing your team working can cause a bit of a concern, because you don’t know what they’re doing when they say they’re working.

Today’s businesses embrace remote work and hire top talent from all around the world. As a manager of remote team members, your main job is to guide, nurture and support them, which can be an extremely challenging task.

If you’re looking to learn how to lead your remote employees well, below we share five basic tips to help you.

Rely on Tracking Tools

Thanks to the latest technological advancements, managers can now track employee work hours to measure the level of their performance and productivity. You can use this software tool to keep an eye on work progress and see how much time is spent on each project, and across tasks. It can also help you spot potential issues and plan more efficiently.

For example, a certain project may have taken longer than expected. It’s important to be flexible when this happens and to reorganize your remote team to make it more efficient. You must monitor your employees’ progress closely if you want to achieve greater effectiveness.

The key features of such employee tracking software usually include real-time employee monitoring, app and website tracking, project time management, automated time and attendance, rules-based screenshots, automated project tracking, and productivity trends.

Establish Clear Expectations

While work expectations may vary in every organization, they will generally touch on the following issues:

  • Work schedule. Work hours employees are expected to meet; the agreement can allow employees to have a flexible or fixed work schedule.  
  • Communication strategies. Acceptable modes and communication channels.
  • Group dynamics. The degree of interdependence at work; some companies value collaboration more than others.
  • Meeting rules. Flow and frequency of team meetings.

Many of these expectations may not be communicated in a traditional office setting. When people are physically present, it is easier to establish a company culture. However, in remote work environments, many things are overlooked and must therefore be made explicit. Setting clear expectations will provide your remote employees with parameters to work with.

Follow Up Regularly

Since every company is different, there is no right answer as to how often a manager should reach out to the remote workforce.

One-on-one meetings are a great way to foster positive relationships among remote team members and they’re not only about productivity monitoring. This can be a great way to keep remote employees engaged.

You can schedule these types of calls on a daily, weekly, or biweekly basis. This can help with assessing the overall performance of the employee, collaborating better with staff members to find and eliminate bottlenecks, discussing plans for employees’ professional growth, as well as answering questions that might be of utmost importance to them. Managers must be flexible to the needs of staff and their calendars while ensuring productive workflows are maintained.

Consider Time Zones

The advantage of opening up your business to a remote work setup is that you can expand your pool of potential quality employees. Your local area or community is no longer your limit. Many companies now work with virtual team members from all across the globe.

However, when managing people from different countries, it is important to be aware of their time zones. If you plan to organize a large group meeting, then you must find a time that works for everyone.

Prioritize Work-Life Balance

Setting boundaries is one of the biggest challenges in a remote work environment. Remote employees often work from home, making it difficult for them to disconnect from work when they are not on the clock.

Respect your employees’ work hours and privacy to avoid employee burnout and to increase employee satisfaction. When your employees are off-duty, it is best to not send them emails or messages. You should instead encourage time off so your remote employees can recuperate and recharge. This will help you to boost your employees’ productivity and focus when they get back to their jobs.

Final Thoughts

Although it can be difficult to manage remote employees, all of the benefits it brings will be worth your while. Have the right tools in place, keep open lines of communication, consider time zones, and make sure to respect your employees’ work-life balance.

These amazing tricks and tips will help you manage your remote team and make sure they’re working at peak.

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