Five ways to manage remote workers more effectively

5 Ways to Manage Your Remote Workers More Effectively

More companies are starting to allow employees to work remotely. For some companies, it is a mix of office time and working from home. There are many examples, too, where the work is done exclusively away from an office. While there are several benefits to allowing employees to work from home, there are also some challenges.

Offering this kind of freedom to your employees is nice, but managers often worry that discipline may slip when workers are not in an office environment. They think, If I can’t keep an eye on people, how will I know the work is getting done?

Communication and performance feedback is at the foundation of building an effective remote team, but there is more to it than that. If you want to have success with a remote workforce, you have to take steps to ensure accountability – even when you and your employees are working from different locations.

Promote Self-Management

Remote work requires a person to have skills that might not be as important in a more traditional office workplace. One of the most important skills is self-motivation, ensuring that they hold themselves accountable. Some people might take to self-management naturally, and for others, these skills will need to be cultivated. If you are going to have a reliable team of remote workers, you have to encourage the traits that lead to effective self-management.

Grant Trust

Trust is one of the key elements for the any workplace to thrive. However, remote work is essentially unsustainable if people can’t trust each other to get the job done autonomously. You have to be willing to grant trust to your remote workers from day one, and you need to encourage them to trust other members of the remote team. Make sure expectations are clear from day one, and let people know that you are trusting them to meet their goals and work together.

Maintain Accountability

Accountability is an important part of trust. The ability to work from home is a great privilege, and it can be advantageous to both the company and its staff. However, the ability to maintain this arrangement depends on accountability.

When you have meetings with your remote team, you need to lay out your expectations for the current project. Make sure that they are aware of any goals or performance standards that exist. If you make things clear, they can’t come back later and say that they were unaware of your expectations.

Personalize Interactions

In some ways, remote work can diminish the personal side of a work relationship. In a more conventional office setting, it is the personal interactions that help to build a more cohesive team that has a sense of accountability towards each other. Remote workers don’t collaborate face-to-face, and they don’t take breaks together.

As the manager of a remote team, you have to take steps to interact with people on a personal level. You should also encourage team members to connect in ways that are more personal. Get people to discuss their struggles and to talk about their successes. When you can build these personal connections, you’ll have a team that is more motivated and more engaged.

Regular Communication

One of the key advantages of remote work is that it gives individuals the room they need to do their best work. If a person has the necessary self-management skills, they can thrive in this type of work environment.

While granting this freedom to your employees can be good in many ways, it can limit your ability to interact with workers on a regular basis. You have to check-in with your remote team on a regular basis. Ask them for updates, talk to them about the current objectives for the team, and provide them with feedback about their performance.

Remote work can be an element that drives the success of your company, but the approach to managing a remote team is critical. You have to be able to trust your remote workers, maintain open lines of communication, and ensure that people have the right skills for managing their work away from the office. Additionally, you need to promote values that will inspire a healthy attitude toward working from a remote location.

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About the author:

Rae Steinbach

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course. Twitter handle: @araesininthesun

Paul Docherty
    Founder of i-nexus, the leader in cloud-based software for strategy execution. Respected thought leader, adviser and co-architect of the Strategy Execution 2.0 "Business System" that is rapidly becoming the de facto blueprint for how large organizations successfully deploy and execute their strategic objectives.

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