With remote working here to stay and something that a lot of candidates who are able to work remotely often ask for, or at least ask about, it is important that the employer is able to effectively manage talent working remotely.
Is remote working an option for your business or team and is it something that is looked on positively or negatively? Ultimately, if you are committed to securing the best talent in the market then remote working will more than likely need to be an option in some shape or form. Obviously it needs to work for your business, but there are certain things you can do as an employer/manager that can help enable this way of working to be effective and successful.
In this article we take a look at some key areas to focus on and some best practices that we believe will help support you when it comes to managing team members who are working remotely.
Below we have set out our top 5 best practices to help combat certain challenges when it comes to remote working, such as communication, engagement and building employee relationships.
Set clear expectations
Setting out expectation early on is key as it will help to align you and your employees from the get go. From how you want to report progress, outcomes and results to how you want to communicate. Be clear, upfront and set boundaries. Doing this won’t just help you to establish how the relationship will work, but it will help your employee feel more comfortable knowing you are both on the same page and what is expected from them.
Check in with your employees regularly
You may want to set this out at the beginning, but schedule regular catch ups to help keep both parties in the know. You may also want to schedule regular team catch ups to help people feel as though they are part of the team and everyone is aware of what is happening on projects.
These calls should offer a platform for reporting challenges as well as successes. This is so you and the team can offer advice, share their similar experiences and discuss solutions. This won’t just help with learning but will also make employees feel comfortable that they can come to you with problems as well.
You could also look at regular reporting, so you are up to speed with daily activities. If you are looking at doing this think about how you can make the report quick and easy to complete, so it doesn’t become a frustrating process. Plus, if you are asking for a report make sure you read it… there is nothing worse than putting a report together and your manger not reading it, it makes the whole process feel like a waste of time.
However, there is value in trusting your employees. If you have set out expectations early on, you do need to trust the people you employ. Although regular updates and reports are good to keep up to speed, don’t allow this way of working to cross the line and feel like micro-management. Find out what works for you and the employee.
Focus on outcomes
Focussing on results is a positive way of working. Obviously if something isn’t going to plan and there are issues with how projects are going you will of course need to look at input and performance to help rectify or overcome issues.
Are you able to put in clear metrics that will help measure performance? Have you clearly defined what success looks like, so all parties are working towards a common goal?
Promote two-way communication
Make sure you don’t monopolise your catch ups by just talking to your employees about what they need to do. Allow time on the call for your employees to ask questions, update on progress and discuss issues.
Make it clear that they can come to you with questions and don’t forget to show your human side, make sure you find out how they are doing and feeling. Some employees could suffer from social isolation, so it’s important that you offer support.
There are lots of different tools that can help to create a more collaborative way of working for you and your team. So make sure they have the tools to enable them to effectively communicate. Tools such as Teams, Slack and Google Drive are great ways for colleagues to stay in touch and be dynamic. But just make sure you don’t overwhelm with tools, as it can get messy and become counter productive.
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