Given the current measures taking place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, an increasing number of businesses are having to rely on remote labor to keep operations running as smoothly as possible. While remote work has been growing in its adoption over the last five years, it’s still not a universally-accepted method for running a business.
With the sudden need to implement such measures, however, many managers are crossing into unknown territory as they attempt to quickly get up to speed on how to run a majority-remote workforce.
At Dale Carnegie of Orange County, we’re here to help. Here are three tips for managing your remote employees:
Managing a Remote Workforce
1. Set Clear Expectations
The most noticeable difference between having employees on-site vs. remote is that you won’t be able to keep an eye on their day-to-day activities as closely. As such, managers of remote teams must make an extra effort to set clear expectations so that each team member knows exactly what is expected of them.
In the age of Coronavirus, a large percentage of your team may be working from home for the first time. Be sure they understand that just because the setting has changed, doesn’t mean the expectations have. Make it clear that their performance should not change along with it. Doing this early will send a clear message that work is still work, whether it’s from an office desk or the kitchen table.
Related article: The Importance of Communicating Organizational Values to Employees
2. Engage Regularly
With a remote workforce, communication takes on an even bigger role than it does with on-site labor. In a standard work environment, you’re able to vocalize company needs at a moment’s notice. It’s often an effortless thought process as you put your intentions into words. When you do this, you give everyone within earshot the direction they need to get the job done right.
Remote managers do not have this luxury, however. They lose the minute-to-minute interactions that come naturally with on-site work. It’s paramount that managers engage their teams regularly in order to make sure everyone is on the same page. At the same time, this process will foster a positive and inclusive work environment. As a result, each employee is vested in the same goals.
Related article: First-Time Managers – Common Pitfalls & Struggles
3. Give Your Team the Right Tools
Our third tip for effectively managing a remote workforce regards setting your team up for success. Remote labor, when used correctly, can be an extremely beneficial way to run the business. But you have to give your team members the right tools to succeed. Investing in reliable video conferencing and project management is a must.
Do a little research and ask your team if there are any programs they are familiar with and would recommend to others. Once vetted, begin putting together processes to introduce and implement these technologies company-wide so that your workforce doesn’t miss a beat during its transition to remote labor. Investing in the right tools now has the potential to cut down on bigger problems down the road.
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