From a Distance: 3 Keys to Managing Remote Employees

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tips to manage remote employees

Did the worldwide connectivity help you yet expand your business horizons?

By literally spanning their employees across the globe, companies have brought their reach to a whole new level.

However, managing remote employees is entirely different from managing an in-house team. Oftentimes, managers are tasked with both, which leaves them wondering, “how in the world do I keep this world-wide office running?”

Communication

While email and phone time are the pinnacle of corporate communication efficiency, these two methods are hurting your interaction with your remote employees.

For example: Let’s say you are checking in on Julie, a college intern working remotely for your company.

Julie has a ton of potential and is on track to graduate top of her class. The work she’s turned out so far is amazing, but you’ve noticed that she’s been logging fewer hours lately. You send a concerned email, saying you’ve noticed her hours are down.

You explained your concerns for the company and for her, saying that your door is open to work through whatever is going on.

how to manage remote work

However, Julie skims this email and only notices that you have criticized her for working less. Julie is flustered and feels more than ever that she cannot reach out, even though the reason she’s working less is because her grandfather recently passed away.

While you have created an open-door policy and communicated this in the email—Julie could not hear your tone, nor did she receive the full message.

Face-to-face communication is always the best option whenever possible. However, sometimes your remote employee lives across the globe and cannot come into the office.

In this case, using FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom on a weekly basis help you make a personal connection with your employee to prevent mix-ups.

Delegation

The delegation of tasks is like what you would implement with an in-house team. The biggest difference to consider is the hours your remote employees will be completing them.

If you need a financial report done by a specific time in your workday, you need to let your remote employee know as soon as you can.

The biggest appeal of working remotely for most people is the flexibility that a normal 9-5 cannot offer.

This means employees are working around soccer schedules, in different time zones, or in the dead of night. Thus, the delegation of duties must reflect the hours in which your employees are working.

Some offices require their remote workers to work at least a fraction of their day within normal office hours. This is a shrewd move to ensure employees are interacting with their office on a daily basis—completing projects on deadline and engaging in necessary communication with the different departments.

tips to manage remote work

However, in the delegation of duties, managers of remote employees need to keep in mind the different hours their employees are working to ensure maximum efficiency.

One way to ensure efficiency in the delegation of tasks is to consider investing in RPA or other forms of task automation. This will allow your remote employees to spend their time on more labor-intensive tasks rather than repetitive mundanities.

This will open their time during the day to work on the projects which really need to take precedence when deadlines are looming.

Motivation

Forbes Magazine describes the ideal trait of a remote leader as being a “company evangelist”. This concept goes along with the idea behind employee advocacy.

While employee advocacy has to do with employees taking social media by storm for the sake of their marketing department, company evangelists are special kinds of motivators who work with those inside the company.

They promote and believe in the brand no matter what. Their mojo is infectious.

However, this motivation must always be sincere. Repeating the same phrase, again and again, will not motivate employees. It’s the passion that shines through anything and everything you say.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, working with remote employees requires a refocus of effort. When managing people from afar, trying to reach out to employees where they need it most is what counts.

Micromanaging is squelched when genuine communication, delegation, and motivation are implemented. When employees feel appreciated and feel they are part of something bigger, productivity will always be higher.

 

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