Successfully Managing Remote Employees
In these uncertain times, many business owners are transitioning their workforce from an office based team to a remote team. This may be a premature move for many businesses who are not used to managing a remote team. Instead, it may feel like something you feel as a business owner, needs to be done to protect employees in the current climate. However, you may be experiencing feelings of worry as you don’t know how best to manage a remote team.
The good news is that remote working has been adopted worldwide, and the amount of companies who are introducing this was continually on the rise, even before the Coronavirus pandemic. Remote work is the future we all must prepare for! There is evidence that proves that remote and home working can actually improve the productivity of your workforce, so how do you go about managing a successful team of remote workers, and as a business owner how do you deal with the worries and responsibilities that come with this transition. We’re here to guide you through this change.
The benefits for employees working from home
Let’s start with the benefits that accompany working from home. Most employees who work from home report that they feel happier in their personal and private life, and more appreciative of their jobs. It also means they don’t have to worry about spending money on their commute and lunch, which means their salary goes further. It gives employees more flexibility when it comes to picking children up from school and going to the gym. Most importantly of all, employees reported that they felt more trusted. Their bosses aren’t keeping an eye on them as closely, which makes them feel their management trusts them to do their job to the best of their ability.
Remote work isn’t just about making the most of modern tech, it’s something that has the potential to help the way we work, manage, and interact. Our furry friends are currently keeping our team company whilst working remotely.
The negatives for employees working from home
Without any prior experience remote working, it can be hard to anticipate the challenges your remote employees will face. The most widely reported negative is the feeling of isolation. Whilst we are currently going through a national period of ‘self isolation’, working from home can make workers feel even lonelier. One of the biggest hurdles for company owners is ensuring they have adequate remote working procedures in place to keep in contact with employees as much as possible, not cancelling meetings and instead moving them online to ensure the team still feel you are very much involved.
Making sure team members don’t suffer from loneliness whilst remote working
As a company owner or manager, it’s your job to ensure your team is happy whilst working from home. Make sure your team is aware that despite everyone working remotely, they are still cared for and valued. This includes making the most of small talk. For example, it’s very easy whilst working from home to ask the questions you need and then cut the call short, however your colleague on the other end may be the only person in their house during self isolation, ask them how their day is going!
It’s also important to still make time to chat to your team members about their progression. Working remotely relies heavily on trust, cancelling meetings can seem like a much bigger deal when you are working remotely, so it’s important the employee knows you are still making time for them, and that their career progression still matters in these uncertain COVID times. Never cancel a one to one, it can sometimes seem like one of the easiest meetings to cancel as it can be rearranged easily, but a happy team means a productive workforce. Since you don’t have opportunities in the office to catch up and talk about issues ad hoc, make up for it by setting aside more time for one to ones when working remotely.
Motivate the team
It’s much easier in an office to head over to an employees desk and say well done! Remotely, you may pass this by, and it’s also less impactful as a one line message over Slack. But motivation is key to keeping your employees happy whilst working remotely. It’s as easy as a positive GIF posted on Slack to show recognition for hard work or making sure you make time for video calls. It’s easier than ever before to stay connected remotely and you should definitely be making the most of it. Including more people than usual on your video meetings can really help to boost morale, helping team members to feel included.
Providing your employees with an incentive to help them focus when self isolation is over such as a guaranteed party or meal out is also a good way to get employees involved, ask them to do polls and brainstorm ideas of where to go, so it keeps the team feeling secure in their job and focusing on the positives that await them outside of isolation.
From pizza parties to video bingo, there are lots you can do to keep morale high amongst your team whilst working remotely! It’s inevitable that the foreseeable working from home setup will induce boredom for many sooner or later, especially if members of your team are self isolating. At Inc & Co we are starting to think about virtual games and socials we can introduce to cure loneliness for our hardworking team. We’ve got a ‘Question of The Day’ thread started on Slack as well as planning some socials for the team such as a virtual team lunch where the company orders pizza and we have an online pizza party. Getting creative in times like these will really help to drive the team forward.
Lead by example
When it comes to remote working and uncertain change, your team will always look to you. Be the role model for remote working that your team will follow suit. The better you work to set an example of how everyone should be working and establish a culture of ownership, the easier the transition to remote working will be for your team members.