Sorry, I was on mute!
Updated: Jul 6
Sorry, I was on mute. How many times have you heard that phrase in the past 2 years?
Advances in business technology have made it possible to work from plenty of places other than the office. As both staff and managers navigate these new remote work capabilities, benefits and challenges have emerged. One of the biggest challenges has proven to be how we manage our brilliant remote workers…
Managing remote employees can feel like a completely different challenge than managing those you work with within close physical proximity. Often times things that work in an office don’t fully translate for remote employees.
After a couple of years of working from afar – here are a few tips for managing remote employees:
1. Set Clear Expectations
Establish expectations and open up constant dialogue around goals and deadlines to stay on the same page. Try to standardize deadlines for both remote workers and team members in the office. Just because remote workers don’t have commute time every day doesn’t mean they need to dedicate that extra hour or so to completing work tasks. Encourage remote workers to set ‘working hours’ including a hard start and stop time. This way boundaries will exist between when they are working or unavailable.
2. Provide Reliable Tech
If your remote employees are unable to download files, have one broken speaker on their headphones, or regularly receive meeting invitations for a different time zone, you have failed to address the basics. Initially invest in reliable technology and tools to make collaboration possible and simple, and then develop uniform processes to use said tools. We use Trello quite a bit to help organise and share project info on Teams.
3. Encourage Relationship Building
Empathize with and show appreciation for your employees’ lives by asking about their families, hobbies and beliefs. If you’re a part of management, check-in frequently with your remote employees using unified communication collaboration tools and practices such as shared docs and spreadsheets, phone calls, instant messaging, and video chat to create a personal feel. Visibly indicate that you are supportive of their success by offering your help or advice on reaching goals rather than just checking on daily progress or numbers, numbers and more numbers! We also host and pay for fuss-free social events (darts, bowling, golf etc) every couple of months so we can have fun together and catch up.
4. Utilize Video Conferencing
communication is nonverbal, not being able to see someone you are conversing with can be difficult and confusing. To avoid this confusion with remote employees, utilize video conferencing as much as possible. Being able to read the visual cues your counterpart gives off will give you a better understanding of what they are actually thinking or feeling. All our staff meetings are now mandatory cameras!
5. Focus on Goals Rather than Activity
6. Utilize Animated GIFs and Emojis