Remote work has become more and more popular in recent years, with many organizations recognizing the benefits of providing their employees with the flexibility to work from home or anywhere they may be. Whether it’s to maintain work-life balance, avoid long commutes, or simply to be more productive, remote work offers numerous advantages for both employees and employers. However, managing remote workers can be a challenge, especially when it comes to keeping them engaged and connected to the team. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into best practices for supporting remote workers and ensuring their success outside of the traditional office environment.
Define Clear Expectations and Goals
One of the most important things to do as a manager of remote workers is to clearly define the expectations and goals for each employee. Providing specific instructions on what is expected from the employee can help the employee to stay on track and be productive, as well as provide you with a way to monitor their performance. When creating goals, make sure those goals are aligned with the team’s larger objectives and that they are achievable and measurable. By doing so, you can help remote workers to feel confident in their ability to meet the expectations set before them.
Clear expectations and goals are essential to remote work. Since remote workers do not have the constant supervision and hand-holding that office workers do, it is important to have a detailed set of guidelines and specifics laid out that they can follow. Without this level of guidance, remote workers can become distracted, disengaged, or unsure of their role within the company.
To make sure you provide clear expectations, communicate with your remote workers frequently, and make sure that they are comfortable asking you questions when they come up. Setting up regular check-ins and using a project management tool can help remote workers stay on top of their goals.
Provide the Right Tools and Technology
Remote workers need access to the right tools and technology to be successful. This includes a good internet connection, a reliable communication platform (such as Slack or Zoom), project management tools (like Trello, Asana or Jira), and any other software or applications needed to complete their tasks. Additionally, providing remote workers with access to a VPN can help to ensure that data is secure when they are working from public Wi-Fi networks. Having a consistent and organized way to provide remote workers with access to these tools can also help to ensure that they remain productive and efficient.
Employers should invest in technology that can help their remote workers get their job done better. For instance, if an employer needs their remote worker to create documents, templates, or brochures, they may want to invest in software like Canva or Adobe Suite to help with design.
Additionally, make sure to check in with remote workers to see if they need any help with setting up technology or if there are issues with hardware or software. This can not only save time in the long run but also make remote workers feel supported and taken care of.
Communicate Regularly and Use Video Conferencing
Communication is absolutely crucial when it comes to managing remote workers. Regular communication helps remote workers feel connected to their team and understand what is expected of them. Therefore, it’s important to have a schedule for regular meetings, check-ins, and status updates. Using video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet can help to humanize the communication and foster better relationships between remote workers and the team. Additionally, written communication can help to provide clarity and can be used to share information and updates more efficiently.
While it is important to make sure that remote workers are not bombarded with communications and check-ins, it is important to strike a balance between being in touch and giving them space. Communication should be consistent and respectful, but not overbearing.
Video conferencing may be the most effective means of communication for remote workers. The ability to speak with colleagues as if it were face-to-face can help them feel more included and part of a team. It can also help to clear up any possible confusion that could arise through email or text messaging.
Managers should also take advantage of video conferencing when it comes to collaborative meetings. By using video conferencing, managers can ensure remote workers feel involved and included in the larger goals of the company.
Foster a Strong Team Culture
Remote workers can sometimes feel isolated from their team. As a manager, it’s important to foster a strong team culture despite physical distance. This can be done through virtual team building activities, such as online games, virtual happy hours, or even sending care packages or gifts. Celebrate team accomplishments and milestones, and make sure remote employees are included in all team activities and events. Encouraging cross-functional collaboration can also help to foster a sense of community and teamwork.
Team culture is one of the most important aspects of working remotely. It can make all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping remote workers engaged and motivated.
To foster a strong team culture, be sure to acknowledge remote workers regularly, such as including them in all company-wide events or highlighting their work in regular meetings. Encourage remote workers to participate in non-work-related activities, such as team-building activities or birthday celebrations, to further help them feel like part of the team.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Remote workers often struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance, as the boundaries between work and personal life can blur. Encouraging work-life balance can help to prevent burnout and ensure that remote workers are maintaining their mental and physical well-being. To encourage work-life balance, consider providing flexible schedules so remote workers can work around their personal commitments. Encourage employees to take breaks and focus on self-care.
The flexibility that remote working provides is one of the perks, but without managing that flexibility, burnout is possible. Encourage remote workers to establish healthy work-from-home routines, like a designated workspace and taking regular breaks throughout the day. When possible, it is also helpful to provide a flexible work schedule that accommodates remote workers’ needs for family care or other personal responsibilities.
Offer Professional Development Opportunities
Remote workers need the same opportunities for professional development as their office counterparts. From online courses and training programs, to mentorship and coaching, offering opportunities for growth and development can keep remote workers engaged and motivated. This can also help to retain your top talent and differentiate your organization from competitors. Providing access to industry-recognized certification programs and opportunities to attend virtual conferences can also help to keep remote workers up-to-date and competitive in their field.
Professional development opportunities can help remote workers feel empowered and invested in their work. By providing access to these resources, remote workers can learn new skills, stay current in their field, and be more effective in their jobs. This can also help to differentiate your company from competitors and make remote workers feel valued.
Establish Expectations for Punctuality
When it comes to managing remote workers, establishing expectations for punctuality can help to ensure that they remain productive and meet deadlines. Be clear about work hours, how to notify if running late, and when employees can expect to receive responses to questions or issues. Establishing clear expectations helps remote workers stay aligned with the team, and reduces the risk of work being neglected or postponed because of time differences.
Setting expectations early on can help remote workers stay organized and efficient in their work. Be clear on what hours the remote worker is expected to work, along with any deadlines or other details that they need to be aware of. This can save time and stress, and make sure that work is getting done in a timely fashion even with remote workers.
Establish Trust Between Manager and Remote Worker
One of the biggest hurdles for managing remote workers is establishing trust between the manager and the remote employee. Managers need to demonstrate trust in the remote worker by relying on them to manage their time and to complete their tasks. It is important for remote workers to know that their manager is available to address any issues or concerns they may have, and that they will be treated fairly and respectfully. Trust is a two-way street, so remote employees should also be transparent in their communication and demonstrate ownership for their work.
Building and maintaining trust between remote workers and their managers is key to remote work. Without it, work productivity can falter or even stall completely.
One of the most important things is to establish clear communication early on in the remote work relationship. This means asking for feedback, keeping lines of communication open, and being consistent with communication as both parties learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Monitor Productivity and Performance
To ensure that remote workers remain productive, it is important to track their performance and productivity. There are various tools and software available, like Hubstaff or TimeDoctor, that can help managers monitor time and productivity. Additionally, regular check-ins and status updates can help managers stay up-to-date on current projects and clarify any concerns. By monitoring performance and productivity, managers can provide feedback and identify opportunities for growth for remote workers.
Monitoring productivity and performance are an essential part of tracking the effectiveness of remote workers within the company. Utilizing tracking software like TimeDoctor or Hubstaff ensures that managers can get an accurate reading of how productive remote workers are. Managers can then use this info to identify areas where remote workers may need more support or to find ways to increase productivity further.
Remote work is here to stay, and organizations must adapt to provide the right support to remote workers to ensure their success. Defining clear expectations, providing the right tools, communicating regularly, fostering a strong team culture, encouraging work-life balance, offering professional development opportunities, establishing trust between manager and remote worker, establishing expectations for punctuality, and monitoring productivity and performance are all critical best practices for supporting remote workers. By following these practices, you can help your remote workers feel connected, motivated, and engaged, leading to a more productive and successful team.