In the last year, it’s seemed as if the only ones who didn’t need time to adjust to working from home were our dogs. If you’re a manager who’s trying to navigate a remote workforce, you might be struggling to motivate your teams, keep everyone connected, and be effective at managing remote employees.
You can’t afford to ignore those skills. According to a recent Gartner poll, 90 percent of HR leaders said that they would still be allowing remote work even after the COVID-19 crisis had passed. These nine tips can expand your remote management toolbox.
Communicate With Employees Who Are Working From Home
Set clear expectations. Because you won’t physically see your employees as often, it helps to start by explicitly spelling out what you need from them. Talk with each employee to figure out when they’ll be able to work, what mode of communication you will use, and how quickly you’ll expect to hear back from them. While you’re at it, make sure that each project or task has a definite deadline.
Check-in frequently. Stay current with your employees by establishing a regular rhythm for updates. Use this time to find out how they’re doing, answer any questions they have, and get progress reports on longer tasks or projects. Err on the side of overcommunicating so that your remote employees don’t feel abandoned or alone.
Build Relationships With Remote Workers
Provide space for small talk. Remote working can impair focus and creativity and can make it harder for teams to work together or form close relationships. Making room for nonwork conversations can help your employees feel like they’re still surrounded by supportive co-workers. Maintain whatever in-office traditions your business has, whether that’s midmorning coffee breaks, communal lunches, or birthday celebrations.
Give frequent positive feedback. Make sure you recognize your employees’ contributions by telling them specifically what they’re doing well. Let them know that you see and appreciate their efforts.
Establish the Right Management Style
Trust your team. Above all else, do your best not to nitpick or micromanage your employees. Especially when you have a history of working with someone, trust their work process and don’t get bogged down in exactly when or how they’re working. Focus on outcomes instead of methods; as long as they’re delivering good work on time, leave the details up to each individual.
Ask what your employees need. Everyone has their own style and their own challenges. Ask each of your reports what they need from you to do their best work. Do they need additional resources like a headset or a second monitor? Would they like to chat with you on video or over the phone, perhaps during a walk break?
Even With Remote Work, Employers Must Comply With Labor Law Posting Requirements
As a manager, you also need to be sure that your employees are aware of their rights and responsibilities under state and federal labor laws. Poster Compliance Center has a full range of labor law posters for every state, including virtual versions that can be accessed from anywhere. Our Virtual Compliance Guide and Poster Advisor Tool can help you decide which posters your team needs.