Remote work is becoming more common in the workforce. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that about 43% of employees now work remotely at least some of the time — up from 40% in 2016 and 36% in 2014. With more people working from home and other locations outside of an office, businesses need to find effective ways to manage remote workers. This article outlines strategies for making it easier for your team to work remotely and still meet company goals.
Communicate More Often
Communication is key to remote work success. If you want to ensure you’re communicating better, you may want to look into tools that help you track and manage your communications. This could include something like a messenger service, a collaboration software, a project management system, or a virtual meeting platform. Gone are the days where you can assume all your employees are available at the same time — and that they will be eager to answer your calls or emails at all hours. While face-to-face communication is best, online tools can be helpful for managing communication and making sure it flows both ways. Communication can take many forms, including company-wide emails, virtual meetings, group messaging (for example, text or Slack), and video conferencing.
Remote work offers more flexibility, but it can also lead to feelings of uncertainty and isolation. In response, some organizations are tempted to micromanage their remote workers, trying to control them through excessive oversight and direction. But this is a big mistake. Managing a remote team—especially one that includes virtual employees—can be very challenging. You have to be careful not to over-manage or impose too many restrictions on remote workers. A study by Stanford University’s Human-Scape Lab found that micromanagement is one of the top reasons why virtual workers quit.
Set Company-wide communication standards
You can keep communication consistent and constructive by establishing company-wide communication standards for your remote team. This will help everyone stay on the same page and spend less time trying to interpret others’ communication styles. One way to set communication standards is to create a communication guideline — also called a “communication protocol” or “communication framework.” Communication guidelines should address the following topics: – The value of communication in your organization – What different forms of communication are appropriate for your team – The best way to communicate with different types of people – How to communicate in different types of situations – What communication styles your company wants to encourage Communication guidelines will help your remote team be more effective and consistent in their communications.
Celebrate Working from Home
Remote workers can feel isolated and less productive if they don’t receive recognition for their contributions. You can encourage remote workers to celebrate their successes and feel more connected to the team by setting up regular celebrations. The most common remote work celebrations are virtual team building retreats, recognition ceremonies, and virtual parties. Some companies even host virtual sports days, where employees compete in a variety of sports, like soccer, basketball, and bowling. These remote work celebrations can do the following: – Build stronger relationships and connections among remote workers. – Provide remote workers with the recognition and feedback they deserve. – Create a stronger culture of remote workers understanding their role within the organization and the team.
Establish a remote working environment
Whether your team members are working from home or in another location, you should create an environment that promotes productivity and efficiency. This means creating a space that’s conducive to remote work, whether it be a dedicated space or just a designated corner in your home. Creating a remote working environment includes the following: – Creating a work schedule – Setting up a work space that is conducive to productivity – Setting up a work routine – Communicating with your family members, roommates, or spouse – Setting up boundaries with family members, roommates, or spouse – Getting the right equipment – Getting the right resources
Hold weekly meetings for everyone, regardless of location
Some companies hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings, regardless of whether employees are in the office or working remotely. Holding regular, consistent meetings can help keep everyone on track and on the same page. For companies with a lot of remote employees, it’s essential to find ways of unifying everyone through meetings. Incorporating virtual meetings will help remote workers stay engaged.
Give employees anchor responsibilities
Anchor responsibilities are tasks that everyone on the team is responsible for. These can be recurring tasks, like creating content, or something more specific, like conducting research or attending a conference. Managing remote workers can be difficult, especially if you don’t have regular meetings or ways of checking in with employees. That’s why giving all team members anchor responsibilities can help reign in remote workers and keep them accountable.
Working remotely can be challenging, but with the right management strategies, it can also be rewarding. To manage a remote team, you’ll need to be clear about your expectations, diligent about communication, and willing to reach out to your employees to build relationships. Remote work is on the rise, and it’s important to make the most of this situation by managing it well. Communicating often, setting company-wide communication standards, celebrating working from home, establishing a remote working environment, holding weekly meetings for everyone, and giving employees anchor responsibilities are seven ways to manage remote work and make it easier for your team to work remotely.