6 methods to manage remote workers effectively
By Jacinta Counihan
read time 3 minutes 30 seconds
In 2018, Blueface, a global communications company made a prediction. After collecting data, they predicted that by the year 2025 "remote working will challenge fixed office spaces as a primary work method."
The concept of working out of the office is not new, with the same study stating that "78% of businesses now allow remote working." However, we all know that it is not for everyone or every industry. Today’s unprecedented times have taken away the option of working at the office, causing businesses to transition to an online workspace.
Whilst it may be difficult for individuals and corporations to adjust to this new working style, if you are a business owner, you must do it right. Without structure, employees struggle to feel productive and motivated, and business owners can become frustrated with their companies lack of communication and organisation. So how do you ensure your employees continue to work efficiently from home?
Thanks to technology, you only need to follow a few simple steps to establish a remote work environment where employees will succeed, and as a result, your business can continue to thrive. Read below.
1. Build trust with your employees
One of the most important things to remember when managing remote working is that trust is everything. Just because your employees are at home, surrounded by many distractions, it doesn't mean they're not working.
As a manager, the best thing you can do is to allow room for flexibility. It is important to consider that everyone faces different circumstances. When employees are in the office, there are minimal distractions and their primary job is to work. But at home, they may have children who cannot go to daycare, or they may be unresponsive before 11 am because of a lousy Wi-fi connection.
Take the time to understand their situation and help them create a schedule that works around their needs. Providing flexibility demonstrates to employees that you are putting your trust in them to get the work done in their own time.
2. Apply the ROWE mindset
The ROWE mindset simply means running your company under a results-only-work-environment. Focus your attention on goals and metrics, instead of 'hours worked.' As long as the job gets done swiftly and efficiently, in reality, it does not matter where/or how it was completed.
To develop a healthy remote working culture, establish an environment where employees are free to complete tasks at their own pace. Doing this will not only benefit you and give you peace of mind, but it can also increase all-round productivity.
3. Set up daily check-in's
Although flexibility is essential, it is still important to have daily check-ins with team members to maintain accountability. Whether you choose to organise a daily group chat at 9 am, or an individual call to everyone throughout the day, whatever method you choose, make sure it is consistent and predictable.
Even the most laid-back humans still enjoy a consistent routine, so implementing set check-in times can help monitor their progress and keep them accountable. It will also allow you to manage the situation and remove any confusion regarding expectations.
Consistent check-ins can also alleviate feelings of isolation and disconnection. It can provide a period of time when employees can communicate freely with their manager and ask questions, just like they would in a standard office setting.
4. Get up to date with technology
In the office, do all your employees have top of the line computers, the fastest internet connections, or a super high-tech workspace? If they have access to these technologies in the workplace, it would be unfair for them to struggle with a slow 3G connection, or a broken desk just because they are at home? With remote working predicted to remain for the near distant future, it may be a good idea to invest in technology that will help your business progress.
A piece of tech you might like to consider would be your communication platform. Zoom and Google Hangouts are currently the top video communication tools. Both programs allow you to have virtual meetings with team members and learning how to work these programs is simple.
If you are not looking for anything too complicated, Google Hangout's works through your Gmail account and permits up to 25 people to talk at once. It does have a screen share option, but it is limited to one person at a time. Zoom is a similar program with upgradable features.
Compared to Google Hangouts, Zoom is better for larger companies as it has the ability to video call up to 100 people at a time, and multiple people can share their screen at once.
Instant messaging apps such as Slack allow for fast communication between team members. Meanwhile, other collaboration apps such as ProofHub or Flowdock provide platforms in which information can be shared in one space. Each program caters to different uses, so be sure to do your research to find the right one for you.
5. Write out the ''rules of engagement.''
It is important to do this step sooner than later as it will save confusion further down the track. Rules can include a variety of things, for example; set times for conference calls, daily/weekly goals and expectations and requested forms of communication for different circumstances.
You and your employees may come to the agreement that video calls are used for meetings, and instant messaging is used for normal chat. Again, whatever you decide, stay consistent because it will make remote work much more productive and rewarding.
6. Keep it casual
Just because everyone is not together in the office, it doesn't mean that you should forget about Friday night drinks. Keeping up morale is crucial, especially in times like this. As much as you can, attempt to keep that ''at work social environment'' by allocating time at the beginning of each meeting just for employees to chat about non-related work issues.
Imagine how happy your employees would be if you were to organise a virtual pizza party where everyone gets pizzas delivered to their house?
Working from home doesn't have to be a lonely exercise. As a business manager, be optimistic and understanding about this unexpected experience and do whatever you can to make it feel like nothing ever changed. Workers will notice and be grateful for this effort and be more inclined to give you effort back.
We hope you found this useful. Sending our love, the Happy Hippo Media team.