7 Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly altered our workplaces and many businesses have found themselves operating very differently from the way they did in the past. Because of the pandemic on-site operations quickly pivoted to virtual and now nearly half (44 percent) of workers in the U.S. are working from home (Full report: https://clutch.co/real-estate/resources/state-of-remote-work-during-coronavirus-pandemic). One of the most frequently asked questions we have been receiving over the past few months is how to navigate and effectively manage remote employees? Below are 7 tips we have compiled to help you with your remote workforce.
- Provide access to needed technology. Your employees can't work to their maximum level without it. You will need to do your best to match the technology your employees have in their homes to what you offered in the office. Yes, this may cost a few dollars but if they don’t have the right tools it may be costing you more in lost productivity.
- Set expectations. For example, with regard to due dates, mandate the use of project management software or enforce regular participation in weekly team meetings. In a later tip we will advise to be flexible, but flexibility doesn’t mean due dates can get ignored. It is vital that employees know what their work from home expectations are. Be clear and have them be accountable.
- Communicate regularly. I am personally not a big fan of having meetings that could have been emails. However, you do need to have a way for employees to easily communicate and collaborate. In our office we use an app call Slack (https://slack.com) to make sure we have a constant flow of communication happening. You can setup daily check-ins, channels for different teams and reminders to make sure important tasks don’t get missed.
- Be flexible. Many remote employees are juggling their work and home lives. We have all seen that many schools are not yet open or have a hybrid model for schooling with more responsibilities landing on your employees during the day. Allow them to work around their schedules as much as you can. We are in this together. Being flexible doesn’t mean that deadlines cease to exist or should be moved it just means you can shift the view on how they get accomplished.
- Being truthful and transparent. Provide regular updates about the company, including information about upcoming changes to processes and procedures and whether any furloughs or layoffs are expected. The goal here is alleviating the emotional and psychological stress employees are feeling.
- Giving feedback. Giving feedback is always important, but it is even more critical in a virtual environment because there is less opportunity for employees to gauge nonverbal clues or have informal conversations with their team.
- Emphasize cybersecurity. When it comes to remote employees, having clear polices in place is critical. Policies that specifically disallow anyone other than the employee from using company devices or protocols that outline the use of personal devices go a long way toward digital safety. Requiring frequent password changes and offering cybersecurity training that teaches employees to identify risks like phishing are important tools as well.
Don’t let the thought of managing a remote workforce overwhelm you. With these tips, you can guide your team in the direction of success, from anywhere.
If you want to discuss any of these tips or chat about what steps we took internally during this transition please don’t hesitate to reach out. I would love to spend some time chatting about the process and changes we went through as we adapted along the way as well.
iComp Payroll & HR