The benefits of working remotely are well documented. Remote workers are 24% happier than non-remote workers. They're also more productive. And on top of that, they’re less likely to leave your company. Benefits aplenty. But how do you manage employees you rarely see? We came up with 8 impactful tips.
1. Make sure your tools are reliable
If you can’t talk with your remote workers, how are you going to manage them properly? You need reliable technology to manage remote employees. Without it, you won’t be able to communicate with them, nor monitor their tasks, coach them, etc. So invest in reliable tools before you send out your employees.
2.Don’t be a mother-in-law
Not all mothers-in-law are awful. My mother-in-law is grrrreaatt.
What I mean is, don’t give in to the urge to look over your employees’ shoulders. Just imagine someone staring at your fingers, while you’re performing a routine task, like folding a towel or tying your laces. Uncomfortable, isn’t it?
That’s how your employees feel when you’re constantly checking in on them: pressured, clumsy and unhappy. There are few things worse than not being trusted at work.
Instead, give them space and trust them. Focus on what your employees achieve, not on how they achieve it. Granted, this might be easier said than done. But here are tips to get you going. Set up a few work-remotely guidelines. No email may be answered nor sent during the weekends. Or use text for urgent matters only. No calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock. Those simple guidelines will make your employees flourish. And your business will reap the benefits.
3. Set clear expectations.
This ties in with the previous two points. Be crystal-clear in your communication and what your expectations are. Everyone has a different idea of what doing something "quickly" means. The more prepared and informed they are, the better they will perform.
4. Schedule video-based meeting
We’ve all been in conf calls, where you just zone out and think about the errands you’re supposed to run later on. That’s not how you should interact with your remote employees. To make every encounter meaningful you need to look at each other. So, schedule video-based meetings. It will undoubtedly improve your relationship with your employees.
5. Build a good rapport
Rapport matters. Remote employees often feel relegated to a secondary role. You can overcome this with the aforementioned video meetings. You can also organize events and get-togethers. If the distance is too big of a hurdle to overcome, you might want to establish a local point of contact.
Additionally, try and establish a relationship that goes beyond purely the professional side of things. Empathize with them, engage in conversations about their lives, family, etc. But don’t force it. Not every colleague will become a friend. The key is to get to know your remote employees as complete persons.
Rapport is an often underestimated and undervalued driver of engagement and motivation. Rapport is what makes your remote employees know that they can trust you with what’s important to them. And they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake or if you take an unpopular decision.
6. Be purposeful
Help establish a community where purpose reigns supreme. Make each team encounter purposeful and create opportunities that allow your team to engage and contribute in a variety of ways. Purpose is an essential practice, particularly when we cannot readily "see" our people.
7. Build a community
I’ve touched on this before, but I can’t stress it enough: you and your remote employees need to form a community. This is how: Let your remote employees define your values. Don’t impose them. You’ll establish a sense of commitment and ownership, and boost accountability.
8. Think about their careers
Career advancement is a major reason why employees remain engaged. This is certainly the case with remote employees. While it’s slightly less valued than work-life balance, your remote employees still need an overview over where they’re headed. Offer them perspectives and create a roadmap with them.
These 8 fail-proof tips will make managing remote workers a lot easier. This, however, is a work in progress. We’re constantly looking to exchange knowledge. So, feel free to share your tips and techniques. In the meantime, here are 18 ways to keep your employees happy and engaged.