Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, you most likely opted to implement remote work. Because of the increasing number of coronavirus cases all over the world, many businesses felt obligated to create an emergency Work from Home policy as a safety measure for their employees.
Ready or not, you are now managing a team whose members work 100% from home. If you are used to your employees sharing an office, you will now face some new challenges.
For example, how can you keep the efficiency level as high as it was during office hours, how to communicate properly, or what will your employees consider micro-managing?
5 Steps to manage your new remote employees
1. Spell out goals and roles
If every team has their tasks, during the period of remote work, make sure to be clear about what your goals are. You can’t see what they are working on and suggest anything. That’s why now you need to spell precisely what the goals are. Make sure to focus on achievable tasks. You can do this once every week, or once a particular task is finished. Define roles inside of your teams. Make sure they each know what they are supposed to do. If you didn’t have any team-leaders, maybe this the time to appoint ones. A team-leader can organize calls in-between his team colleagues to talk essential and urgent things.
2. Keep people updated
At the office, you will announce a big sale or a new important signed client loudly, but while your team works from home, you can’t do that. When something like this happens, send a group message, you can even attach a screenshot as proof for it to be more engaging. Your employees still want to know what other teams are developing or how the company is doing in general. This can even be a motivation booster.
3. Avoid micromanaging
You may feel the need to check in regularly to make sure everyone is online and working on their task while at home. This can lead to your employees feeling like you don’t trust them. According to Brenna Loury, head of marketing at Doist, engaging you remote workers starts with a high-trust culture. Therefore, you can ask for a weekly report, but do not send messages twice a day asking about the same task.
4. Communication and connection
Communication is vital in a company, but this becomes of greater importance once you decide to work remotely. To keep connected with your employees, you could ask them once a week what they are working on, or if they need help with anything. Having a proper app to manage chats and calls is important not only for meetings but for keeping a good relationship between employees. You want people to keep their connections. That’s why besides the video conferences regarding work, you could schedule, for example, coffee drinking video calls. During these, you chat about random facts. Be sure to have a chat option for your employees to send exciting stuff they find on the internet, news articles, youtube videos, or even memes.
A report made by Buffer shows that the biggest struggle with working remotely is loneliness, and that’s why making sure that people still feel connected should be a priority.
5. Set schedule expectations
Be clear from the start of the schedule. If you need people to work during certain hours, let them know from the beginning. For example, you need people to work from 9 to 12, but the rest of the hours can be done at any time during the day as long as they hit the 8 hours quota. Employees will like a little bit of flexibility, especially during these times when their children are at home too.
Don’t forget about tech tools
Having the right tech tools is also an essential part of managing your employees while they are working from home. For you to create an adequate work environment for your remote workers, you will need to ensure they all have access to the right apps to do their job and communicate. Check out the list of tools we use while we work from home to get a better idea about what you should use.
Even if the transition to remote work is forced upon a lot of companies, it may be a valuable lesson for the future. Maybe you will consider practicing remote work from now on or offer this possibility to your employees when needed. This can open a lot of doors for many businesses. Imagine being able to hire someone from any country because you have the infrastructure to make it work.