Whether people are entering the new digital world of remote staffing because of choice of necessity, one thing is for sure: managing teams off-site or remotely needs a different approach compared to managing workers in real life. For both short-term and long-term cases, listed below are some tips for managing remote teams more effectively, more proactively, and a lot better.
Embrace the new digital age
One of the most extensive tests of handling remote workers is the adjustment time that happens when people step out of their offices and set up at their homes. Even with every benefit of doing remote jobs, it can be pretty hard to leave physical offices. The sooner people embrace their new paradigm shift of managing these teams, the better for the staff and the managers.
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There is a big chance that the staff is not slacking off
The outcomes are in, and they are pretty consistent: this type of setup actually boosts worker productivity. It is very hard to believe that employees are more productive when the managing team is not hovering over their shoulders, but research shows it to be real. Individuals have to trust that management hired excellent people are accomplishing the company’s vision and mission.
Always remember that time clocks don’t dictate how much work employees get done. It does not matter if the job is completed on their couch, bed, or in-office cubicle, in pajamas, or wearing business attire, as long as it was done efficiently and effectively. If workers are accomplishing their jobs for their team, it is a win-win situation.
Create result-driven goals, not more time in front of computer screens
Building off this, managing off-site teams means adjusting how management sets goals. There is a good chance that employees are handling their personal tasks and their responsibilities at home, like homeschooling their kids or caring for their sick loved ones and creating goals based on what management wants their staff to get done, not the time they spend logged in to their accounts or spending time in there. Upper management people need to set up achievable discrete quotes or tasks and make sure that workers know what is expected of them.
Set up regular check-ins
When people work in the comfort of their home, it can be pretty easy to let contact with other people slide by the wayside. But it is our human nature to want to interact with fellow humans, even if it is through a computer screen. Here is where regular check-ins can help.
Companies need to consider asynchronous morning check-ins with team members, individual chats at least once a week, as well as team meetings at the start and end of the month, depending on the company’s workflow. The idea here is to ensure workers feel supported and provide them with opportunities to discuss problems, challenges, or issues on their end.
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Look for more flexibility
The next step is to look for more flexibility. One of the obstacles of managing off-site workers is allowing them to organize their own rhythm with tasks. A lot of companies realize that sticking to a rigid set of hours, as well as dress codes, is frustrating and impractical (think of requiring business dress codes on weekly Skype or Zoom meetings).
Companies need to consider the workplace has changed, as well as how people are working, how they are holding themselves, and the worker’s accountability. The same measures applied in the office do not make sense when you are handling a team remotely.
Do night owls work a lot better after their children are in bed? Do managers have early risers who met their goals before lunchtime? Companies still need to have some pre-determined deadlines or fixed meeting times. But between these times, let employees dictate their schedule and working hours as much as possible. They will appreciate the work flexibility, as well as be more dedicated to their jobs in the long run.
Build a community
Building an off-site or remote community is considered one of the unique challenges of managing a virtual team. If communities are the social glue that binds companies together, then think of methods to strengthen these bonds, especially for recently hired employees who do not have deep connections in the company.
Use things like video conferencing, Slack channels, or threaded chats to share work-related conversations and personal updates. Allow space and time for online socializing. Talking about life outside of work and sharing a laugh goes a long way in creating a work community.
Modern technology is both a curse and a blessing when handling off-site or remote teams. Companies have the same access to their workers online as they did in the office, but it is imperative to use it well. Companies can use task management tools that people can enjoy using and makes a lot of sense.
Community building software and applications like Slack or Zoom can help when it comes to managing remote employees training, as well as improve remote work culture. Video chat platforms like Zoom or Skype are excellent for quick gatherings of the entire team.
Ensure workers have technical support
One of the most frustrating parts of managing off-site workers is dialing with tech challenges. If the company’s whole operation has moved online, what can organizations do when hardware fails or software glitches? How will management teams train their staff in new platforms so they can concentrate on their tasks, not on how to use applications or platforms?
Create resources and guidelines to troubleshoot common problems and develop workarounds when there is downtime. Provide workers clear access to the tech support if they have problems with software or applications that their task requires.
Companies may also need to provide their staff with hardware to set up an office in their home. Always remember that people cannot blame their workers for not meeting their quota or target if they do not have the necessary training and resources they need to get the task done well at the comfort of their homes.