Tips For Managing Remote Employees

Advanced technology, changing corporate policies, and the COVID-19 pandemic have made working remotely more common. As a result, remote work appeals to many employees, with more than 97 percent of employees choosing to work remotely, at least part of the time. In addition, a recent study found that working remotely increased business productivity by 13 percent when comparing a company’s profits to previous years. 

Remote work isn’t possible for all types of businesses, but if your business offers opportunities for remote work or a hybrid option, here are tips to help you successfully manage remote employees. 

Trust Your Remote Employees 

An excellent way to motivate remote employees is to show them you trust them and their judgment. Initially, this may require that you take a leap of faith, but the payoff will be worth it with increased efficiency, strong team dynamics, and a close-knit team.  

Establish Clear Expectations 

Make sure your remote employees know your expectations. For example, let them know how often you want them to check-in, whether you’d like them to touch base before they end their workday, and what process they should use to track their time.  

Document Your Communication Strategy 

In addition to sharing expectations with each team member individually, it helps to document your communication process, so remote employees have something to reference. For example, provide details about timing and responsiveness, including how soon you expect a response to an email during working hours and what necessitates a group conference call or video call versus a quick message or email. 

Equip Your Employees With the Right Tools 

Ensure that your remote employees have the best remote work tools and software for their needs. Take the time to investigate which remote work tools work best for your employees, and don’t be afraid to experiment with other tools to find the best equipment to make your business a success.  

Engage Frequently 

Ideally, engage directly with remote employees regularly, whether through an email, instant message, phone call, or video chat. Consistent interaction with each employee, whether they work on a remote basis or not, will ensure they feel motivated, included, and valued. 

Establishing regular group or team meetings, live virtual events, and virtual team-building activities will foster a sense of unity and help employees bond. In addition, these meetings allow employees to get to know each other and build connections, which creates an environment in which they feel more inclined to cooperate and communicate with each other regularly. 

Additionally, team meetings allow remote workers to contribute their ideas and clear up miscommunications regarding project details, deadlines, and expectations. 

However, be mindful of “Zoom fatigue,” a term describing the burnout or tiredness associated with the overuse of video meetings. Incorporate alternate communication methods (e.g., email, messaging apps, phone calls), and consider making some social meetings optional to help combat Zoom fatigue. 

Require Video During Meetings 

When employees can see each other, it’s easier to judge their feelings than listening to a disembodied voice. Additionally, knowing that you’ll be able to see each other means your employees will pay more attention to the discussion during video chats. Ensuring everyone communicates with video is a great way to improve productivity and social interaction with your remote team. 

Be Transparent 

Employees often look to leaders as an example of behaving in the workplace. For instance, they’re more likely to be open and honest with you if you’re open and honest. Making transparency a part of your culture makes it easier to build trust with all employees and ensure they feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. 

Just be sure your transparency extends equally to all employees. For example, if you have news to share, let every employee know simultaneously so remote employees don’t feel that they’re the last to hear about what’s happening in the office or that you’re intentionally withholding information from them. 

Build a Strong Rapport With All Employees 

When managing remote employees, get to know them the same way as your non-remote employees, including their hobbies, interests, and career aspirations. Avoid the temptation to be all business and take a few moments at the start of each call or video chat to enquire about an employee’s weekend, family, or plans for an upcoming vacation to help develop a personal connection.  

In addition, it’s helpful to set aside time for regular one-on-one conversations with remote employees. While it can be tempting to cancel or postpone these as these seem non-essential, these meetings are crucial. They help link remote employees to small updates and ad hoc meetings throughout the day. 

Try your best to hold one-on-one meetings regularly on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and give remote employees your undivided attention so you both have an opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback, or share ideas. 

 Avoid Micromanaging 

When your employees aren’t physically in the same space as you, it can be easy to conclude that they’re not working. Unfortunately, that mindset can quickly evolve into micromanaging behavior where you bombard remote workers with communications and continuously ask for progress reports. That leads to employees feeling like you don’t trust them to do their work. 

Instead, focus on outcomes and goals; as long as the employee gets their work done well and on time, their work style may be irrelevant. 

Create an “Open Door” Policy 

Remote employees may feel they’re disturbing you by contacting you outside of scheduled meeting times, especially if you work in different time zones. To prevent this, create an “open door” policy so remote, and non-remote employees can contact you at any time. Although you may not be able to answer immediately, make sure your employees know that there’s no such thing as too much communication. 

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Connect2Capital offers advice on how to help your business grow and thrive, whether you’re working with remote employees or searching for other valuable strategies. It also helps small business owners who may have difficulty procuring funding from mainstream lenders connect with mission-driven lenders that offer affordable financing. For more assistance in helping your business succeed, complete this inquiry form to start the matching process between small business owners and lenders. 

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Disclaimer:  the information provided on this page is meant for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current resources and recommendations available. Please consult with your financial, tax, legal, and other relevant advisors when making decisions about your small business.