Since the pandemic outbreak, HR managers were required to introduce specific guidance to ensure productivity and engagement among the employees and not forget about the measures aimed at mental health. Now that the crisis has endured, the initial guidance hasn’t changed that much.
However, some more effective remote management tips have appeared, so let’s take a closer look at them.
Management of Remote Teams: Best Practices
1. Set clear and timely expectations
When managing remote teams, it’s necessary to provide and set clear goals, boundaries, and milestones. Since the employees can’t talk to you in person the moment they’ve faced a specific issue, it’s better to prevent these troubles from happening. Creating accurate and well-structured guidelines is the first step towards superior outcomes.
The employees often ask questions, so it’s necessary for the employer to be accessible and provide clarity on work-related concerns. Be its performance goals, new policies, staffing changes, company successes, or tips for working at home, make sure to keep employees up-to-date.
Besides, in managing virtual workers, a manager should emphasize keeping the work-life balance stable to retain employees. When employees work for eight hours and then rest, this helps prevent burnouts and avoid the performance decrease.
2. Treat remote as in-house
Whether you have only remote employees or half of your team works from home and another half from the office, they all have to be treated equally. When it comes to managing remote workers, you need to remember that they don’t see you every day at the office or at lunch, so they are more prone to feel distant and lonely.
The best way to deal with this issue is to have regular meetings with the team, communicate in chats, and send some “care packages” to remind your remote employees they are valued.
3. Establish daily check-ins
For each type of employee, it’s essential to be heard, so daily or weekly check-ins are the best way to give them this opportunity. Most of the companies start their days/weeks with a team call to make sure all the members are on the same page and solve the challenges they might have arisen.
If your employees work independently from each other, it’s better to have one-on-one calls, but if their work is highly collaborative, it’s more effective to have a team call.
The calls are predictable and scheduled, so each team member knows they will have the opportunity to share their opinion and concern with you and get a consultation. However, when managing remote teams, make sure these calls aren’t super-long because it’s all about planning and scheduling.
4. Identify and provide the right communication technology options
If you’re wondering about how to manage remote employees, one of the top tips is not to stick to emails as the primary communication option. It’s hard to convey the message correctly, especially when it’s about dealing with a particular issue via text only. Besides, there is plenty of telecommuting software, so why not leverage it?
When managing remote teams, opt for more practical technology, like video conferencing, because it provides visual cues, making the conversations feel more personal. However, when it comes to time-sensitive communication, you can use Zoom, Slack, etc., since they are mobile-enabled and convenient for situations when you need to exchange visual details.
5. Trust your team
Full control and over-supervision aren’t great if you want to encourage your employees to make decisions on their own and not be afraid of taking risks. Besides, such behavior kills creativity, which is a relevant “asset” of each team member and may provoke conflicts. The most optimal solution, in this case, is to set work-from-home guidelines.
For example, mention that emails should be responded to within a certain period, the calls have to be held during working hours, and the team members can use texts in case of urgency.
When managing remote employees, you need to combat the belief they get much less work than in the office if they don’t have enough supervision. They do, and it’s proven that people working from home are 77% more productive than when they worked from the office.
6. Exhibit empathy
In managing virtual workers, a manager should remember that the employees are people too, and it’s necessary to acknowledge stress. Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in spotting and addressing employees’ anxieties and concerns.
Take a minute to ask the teams about how their days are going and whether they have certain problems related to remote work. Hear them out and let their concerns be the focus of your conversation. Also, look out when employees are in distress and emphasize the importance of mental health because it’s more important than any results.
7. Opt for being a mentor, but not just a manager
Those asking about how to manage remote teams need to understand that effective management is more about mentoring and coaching than “managing.” That’s why when the employee has a certain issue, it’s necessary to help them out and come up with alternative solutions, but not say to figure it out on their own.
8. Enable remote social interaction
Putting effort into making a virtual work environment feel more “real” is worth it because this helps reduce feelings of isolation, loneliness and give a sense of belonging. Since employees can’t communicate during lunch or when having office parties, it’s necessary to provide a substitute.
When having calls, devote a couple of minutes to discuss non-work items, hold pizza parties, or remote office parties (in which party care packages are delivered in advance to be opened simultaneously). Such activities help team members to get to know each other better and find like-minded people.
9. Offer emotional support and encouragement
Also, as mentioned by Harvard Business Review, employees look to the managers when there are sudden changes and react to challenging situations the way they do.
Leaders who start stressing out too much and communicate their helplessness make their employees feel anxious and afraid of complexities. However, if the managers both acknowledge the stress and provide affirmations of their confidence in their teams, then employees are more likely to face the challenge with their heads held high and focus on the urgent tasks.
10. Track progress correctly
The last but not least tip on how to manage remote employees is to evaluate their performance and give feedback on it. The results of the work will encourage employees to work harder to keep the bar high and make them more encouraged.
Here we go: these are the useful remote teams best practices that will come in handy for any manager and business owner. The times are changing, but remote work is here to stay, so it’s necessary to make sure it’s smooth and stress-free.
Usually, HR managers are the ones to take care of the employees’ wellbeing and introduce the mentioned practices. This requires much time and effort, so if you have a bunch of tasks, you are likely to feel scattered when having too many responsibilities.
Therefore, having a remote HR in your team is an optimal solution because it frees up your time and is cost-effective. You can contact us if you need help with remote management because HR Bit has been in this sphere for a while, and we know all the nitty-gritty of these processes.