Remote working is more than a trend, but a necessity these days.
Remote working saves companies and businesses especially during peaks of this pandemic that upended our lives.
The recent pandemic has changed the pace of the modern workplace drastically.
Data shows that about 88% of organizations in the world are expected to operate from home, while 91% during the outbreak implanted remote working arrangements in the AsiaPacific Regions.
If you were one of the organizations that made a temporary change in this work system, you may be curious about sticking to these remote workers set up before this pandemic is absolutely over or doing it indefinitely long though the planet stays in the usual state.
Although this is the ideal job scenario for many workers, it can be difficult to come to terms with many managers.
You can feel like you have no influence over the scenario or find that it can be a bit of a challenge to achieve a degree of confidence with a remote team.
Yet, it is the way of the present and future workplace, and executives need to change to make the problem work for everybody involved.
It isn’t just a matter of introducing a new video chat tool to remote employees and thinking it’s going to be business as normal.
Here are some essential tips to effectively manage remote workers.
7 Tips to Manage Remote Teams Effectively
1) Be Open to New Ways of Doing Things
Remote work provides another way of doing things. In terms of how one treats both office-bound and remote employees, the culture of a conventional business setting focuses on “seeing is believing.”
Typically, managers are more relaxed when they see their team on their desk or doing something. Rewards and benefits are typically intended for office-bound employees for environments such as this.
The actual presence of a worker is not even the best gauge for productivity. Now that remote working is the norm, the inclusion of remote work as part of your company demands a shift in your company’s work culture.
Remote employees need trust and support. An employee’s (perceived) busyness should not be given as much emphasis because the limelight is on efficiency and performance.
Build a climate that relies on results than the time of work rendered. Let remote workers with the right expertise provide solutions where appropriate in various areas. Create a supportive culture that caters to remote workers and reduces the effects of social isolation.
A new study called Global Remote Work Productivity Tracker discloses that 77% of its operations were conducted remotely by North America. It witnessed a productivity rise of 23%, but mainly because of Canada. The United States suffered a drop in productivity of 7.2%.
NordVPN also found that in the US, the length of the average workday has risen by 40%. This means that Americans can work an additional three hours a day, but despite the added hours, they are less efficient.
You may blame this decline on remote jobs, but since their North American equivalent, Canada, has undergone a remarkable rise in productivity, we need to look for the real culprit in the fall in productivity.
We need to remember that, in terms of Covid-19 cases and deaths, the United States suffered the most damage.
In Italy, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and Germany, Europe has also seen dramatic declines in productivity. But since Belgium, Switzerland, and Sweden experienced high productivity increases, this offset the decline, and since switching to remote work, Europe has achieved 8.2% in productivity.
As the world heals in all aspects, remote work will be standard in this new normal economy.
2) Set Clear Expectations Beforehand and Often
You need to set expectations just as you would with any team you work with. Make sure that your expectations are reasonable.
Some remote workers note that managers sometimes demand more from them because they try to offset not being able to physically see you with the amount of work they get from you.
Make sure that the expectations you set are within the parameters of the remote worker’s pay or talent fee, and the time agreed the remote worker should be working for you.
If your remote worker is only rendering services part-time, the amount of work should be doable between 10-20 hours a week or depending on what is agreed. If you are hiring remote workers per-project basis, then set a time limit and exact deliverables expected.
If you are handling full-time remote workers, set weekly and monthly targets. Adjust as needed, like if projects are more difficult or when emergencies happen, like the pandemic.
Avoid vague or subjective instructions and metrics. For instance, everyone has a different understanding about what “quickly” or “excellently” means. One person’s standard of excellence will not be the same as the others. So it is important that you give the company’s standard of excellence, of what’s on time, and what’s considered a success or a failure.
The better your team is trained, informed and equipped, the more willing to serve they will be.
3) Provide Guidance
Provide constant guidance after you have set limits. Evaluate the basics of every project and guide your team through the most critical steps. It is not about breathing down on their necks.
There should be some flexibility when it comes to working with distributed teams.
Studies even show that remote workers are more productive when they are allowed to work at their most optimal or productive times.
There will be issues, but be open and remind objectives, targets, and success goals to your team. Identify the availability of each team member and meet them often to catch up and simply nurture good working relationships.
4) Keep Communication and Connection Constant
Loneliness and isolation are the leading setbacks of working from home. It helps your remote team members to know that you are not just focused on their output, but invested in them personally.
Let your team know you are concerned about their physical and mental well-being, more than the job.
We are going through changing and challenging times, and you need to foster camaraderie even more at a time like this.
Managers should keep employees up-to-date on policies, business achievements, personnel shifts, and other instructions for working remotely, just like you would in an in-office workplace.
They may also structure activities around the hours employees work, such as setting guidelines for responding to any after-hours work by email and text.
5) Make Time for Small Talk
Don’t just chat about work stuff with your remote team.
Yes, if you are on a tight deadline, you need to be precise and on-point with your communication, but during the month, make sure there are times when you can linger in a call, even just for a bit, to chat with your team about non-work related topics.
If not, you are really missing out on a critical portion of management. With every member of your team, you have to build relationships.
Rapport is what helps you to work through the concerns of any team member, trust that they will come to you with things that are important to them, and when you make a mistake or an unexpected decision, give you the benefit of doubt.
Rapport does not derive from thinking about and doing work. As a complete person, it comes from establishing and investing in healthy, affirming relationships within the team.
6) Use Videos as Much as You Can
Video tells you much more than just an audio call, or talk can ever tell, if you analyze their reaction to a change of plans, or just try to assess their general feeling that day.
oWith so many free and inexpensive video chat solutions like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and the like, there’s no reason not to make video calls often with your team.
If you have communication issues, it is also better to fix them through video calls.
Trust your instincts when you’re doing something that may be wrong or might be misunderstood in an email or an audio call. Mae time to ask for a video call appointment with the concerned remote worker or the entire team to fix issues that are crucial.
7) Trust Your Team
Sometimes, companies are not willing to embrace a remote workforce because there’s uncertainty about whether or not the work will get completed at the same level as if they were in the office.
To combat this belief based on distrust, set up work-from-home guidelines, such as emails must be responded to within 24 hours, use text for urgent matters, and no calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock.
Conclusion: Remote Teams Demands High-Performing Managers
Remote teams place a greater demand on managers. In order to compensate for the lack of physician supervision, owners or managers should be able to set clear job expectations and responsibilities for the protection of its remote team.
Managers also need to be skilled in keeping team morale high, especially in a time of crisis. Managers also need to learn the basic principles of every aspect of work done within the team.
For instance, if asked about how the team can optimize and streamline operations with cloud-based technologies, the manager must have an idea how it works, at least in concept, and not just relegate technical things to the IT department.
A manager must also know different competitive advantages for business that can be utilized by the team, or even how to begin business automation through software to ensure the company thrives in the new normal economy.
Above all, a manager must further develop empathy and compassion, especially to remote workers who are often the most overworked and unappreciated members of the team.
Intuition and foresight as well is something that cannot be learned overnight, but if you are a passionate manager, your heart for your job and your team will be able to pull you through.
Even you, the manager, need support and assistance at this time. Nurturing your team is in effect, nurturing yourself as well because whatever culture you establish within your team will come back to you.