Some companies have had remote workers for years. For others, the coronavirus brought an overnight shift from working in the office to working at home. Old pros and newcomers alike share certain challenges that come with working remotely.
It can help to recognize the differences between working as a team in the office and working as a team that is spread out. Anything that has proven effective in an office setting might not translate to working remotely, especially if your employees have changed their hours to accommodate children home from school or a spouse who is also working remotely. Accept and embrace that remote work requires a different mindset.
How to Manage Remote Workers
Managers face their own set of challenges when it comes to working remotely. It can be difficult to assess through email and phone calls how hard employees are working or if they are struggling. Here are five tips on how to manage remote employees during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
- Give your employees the tools they need. Working from home is a lot different from working in an office. Assess what your employees need to complete their jobs from home, then make sure they have it.
If you provided shared equipment in the office, you may need to purchase extras now for each employee to keep at home. Most people have home computers and cell phones, but they may not have the right software or programs installed on those devices. Make sure your employees have the computers and programs they need to work remotely.
It is just as important to make sure your employees have the right tools to communicate with you and each other. Think about whether you will keep in touch through email, phone calls, or video conferencing. Then provide adequate laptops, cell phones, or cameras to make that work.
- Communicate with your employees. When everyone works from home, you can’t just pop by someone’s desk or office to check in, but you still need to know how they’re doing. Think critically about which forms of communication, such as email, texts, conference calls, or video conferences, work best for you and your team. It may be that what works best for one employee doesn’t work for another, so be flexible.
Remember that communication is a give and take between two people. Be sure to let your employees know what you expect from them but listen to their feedback as well.
- Track employee progress. You can’t track when your employees get to work or leave for the day, so focus on tracking their progress. Create a plan for each employee focused on specific goals to complete in a certain timeframe. This tactic can assure you that they are getting the job done and gives them recognition for meeting certain milestones.
If you do want to track the actual hours your employees work, consider using time tracking software. You can install such software on computers and mobile phones, making it a perfect solution for remote workers. It can be especially reassuring if you have employees working unusual hours from home.
- Trust your employees. You hired them for a reason, and if they have worked hard for you in the past, assume they will continue to do so. Resist the urge to micromanage because it will probably bother your employees. Check in to make sure that they are hitting the major milestones, but don’t nitpick how they get there.
- Acknowledge success. These are tough and uncertain times. Everyone could use a little extra joy right now. Making the effort to celebrate success, even remotely, can motivate your employees and make them feel appreciated.
Since you can’t be together, be creative in how you celebrate. Give your employees a gift card for coffee or send them all ten dollars and host a virtual happy hour. Even remote celebrations boost morale and create a feeling of togetherness.
Even managers could use a little help when working remotely. The human resources professionals at Expert Payroll LLC provide time tracking services that can help you manage your remote employees. Call our team at (760) 421-5334 to learn more about time tracking and other payroll services in Carlsbad, CA.