Would you treat remote workers reports the same way you treated staff that works in your office? I guess not. Remote Worker’s situation has a unique approach for it to thrive. Most often than not, you’ll have to go above and beyond when it comes to management fundamentals— making remote-friendly adjustments along the way.
Here are eight ways to effectively manage your remote workforce.
Have a conversation about “Ground Rules”
It’s common for remote workers to lag when they need your input on something. They find it challenging getting your attention between meetings for quick approvals. To make matters worse, if you’re in a different time zone, half a day may be gone before you weigh in. If your remote workers have to wait for your approval all the time, productivity will be hampered. On the flip side, if they act without it; they may be heading for the rocks.
Run through possible scenarios that may crop up and how they could go about it. Discuss the competency in handling such situations.
Block off availability to be more accessible
Most managers have a lot on their hands already—they hardly notice a colleague sitting a few meters away and barely talk of a remote worker who is far less visible. The thing here is that remote worker’s challenges are not perceived until they have become bigger issues.
To address this, block off availability to be there for them—that could mean being available when it’s inconvenient for you, especially when they are in a different time zone.
Provide free time for 1-on-1 chat
Well, you may say chitchat is a time-waste—that is only if you overdo it. And if you decide to let it slip, you miss the opportunity to build rapport with your remote workers. It helps to know their emotional state.
Spend the first five minutes to understand what’s new about him or her. With time, you’d have built some go-to topics to leverage on. Make the meetings interactive and not like they’re being interrogated.
Do you push out enough assignments?
According to research, managers tend to give smaller, less critical tasks—despite the remote worker’s suitability for the job. Workers in your office are physically closer, so they’re better fitted to hand more essential assignments—but don’t overdo it.
Ensure you compare the importance, scope, and complexity of assignments you want to delegate to each team member. The goal is not to negatively impact performance or stunt remote worker’s career growth.
Make up for the sparse and shallow feedback
Putting off feedback conversations is one of the easiest things to do due to communication logistics. It happens when there is redirecting feedback to share. So many managers dread this activity and may delay for too long with co-located team members.
Make it a duty to provide ample feedback to remote workers when necessary. Spend about 5-15 minutes on your 1-on-1 sessions to provide carefully considered feedback. You may want to set a quota for the number of times you give feedback to direct reports.
Seek Remote Workers input during virtual meetings
For a meeting to be considered beneficial, it has to have back-and-forth discussions and the group’s energy of participation. You need to know if remote workers are contributing to the progress of the team—or a face on the wall.
Use facilitation techniques to quiet other participants. Ensure members that join remotely have the opportunity to weigh in on the project at hand.
Join forces to Overcome professional development challenges
You need to understand that your remote workers may still be far-off when it comes to coaching conversations. It may be difficult for them to pick tips from your top salesperson. And thumbing through that professional development book in the lounge may be too much of a task for them.
So, what’s the deal here?
In as much as remote workers are responsible for their fair share of development, it doesn’t mean their challenges are entirely their problems—they will also affect you or your company in any way. Find common grounds where you could get them up to speed with learning opportunities. That way, you’re positing your company for greater success years ahead.
Make your remote workers more visible to the rest of the organisation
It was found that remote workers at a call center were 50 percent less likely to earn a promotion than co-located team members—according to a study carried out by a group of Stanford economists.
Don’t let your remotes hard work go unrecognised, because you’ll be doing them a great disservice. Appreciate their small wins and let the organisation see each of the miles stone achieved.
Your remote workers can be at their best. You need to set the ball rolling by calling their attention to “what should” and “should not.” That way, everybody will be better for it—the organisation thrives as well as your remote workers.