Remote employees are not like their office-based counterparts. Unlike those at the office, remote workers are less supervised and are flexible in their time. Such “freedom” can result in issues such as unfair workload distribution or failure to meet company expectations. To prevent such occurrences, try tools and techniques for a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of project management processes. As a beginner trying to acquire a basic knowledge of how to manage remote employees, try the following tips:
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1. Install workload management tools
Workload planners are among the essentials for any business, whether it’s for remote work or for a physical company. However, you need to determine which apps or software you need. For example, you can go for casual communication tools such as Slack and Skype. For workload distribution, you can pick project trackers, like Asana or Trello.
Once you’ve picked the workload apps that you need, evaluate if it is the right app or software for a particular task. For example, you need to give a lecture on employee effectiveness. For this scenario, you need an app that can let all your remote staff see your video in real-time.
2. Communicate overall goals
Before you discuss the workload to your remote employees, tell them about the overall project goals. Doing so will help establish what the company expects from them for every task objective that they will be given.
Also, this will help your remote employees understand that they are a valuable part of the company. You can explain the company’s mission to motivate them in creating high-quality content. This act can make them become empowered and to even make them feel that they have what it takes to meet these expectations. This may even motivate them to become productive workers.
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3. Be clear on their work details
Most remote employees may only be taking the job for additional income and do not plan to work for you for a long time. The same goes for you. Your workers may be expecting your offer as a regular job, and you might only need them for a few months. To avoid any inconvenience on both sides, clearly explain the work details to your employees.
Give them details on how much workload they will be given and until when. Also, provide possible samples of the work you expect them to do. Aside from discussing these workload details, secure a copy of a contract signed by both of you.
4. Explain expectations and personal goals
Once your remote workers have a clear idea of how the company works, give them the chance to participate in workload planning. As their manager, set their expectations and review the distribution of workload among the team.
Then let your team members share their personal goals for their workload. This kind of sharing can boost employee productivity, and you’ll know exactly what to look for during remote employee tracking of work performance.
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5. Instill trust and flexibility
Remote employee tracking can be challenging. You can’t physically oversee what your remote workers are doing or how they are doing their tasks. Effective employee management includes demonstrating your trust to your remote staff.
You should also foster self-leadership skills among your remote workers. For instance, ask their opinion about their workload. Listen to their suggestions and comments and incorporate these in your team process, if applicable. Ask them about their work hours and when they feel the most productive to work on their given task objectives.
6. Establish your authority
Giving freedom to your telecommuting employees on how and when they do their work can encourage employee effectiveness. Too much freedom, on the other hand, can lead to ineffectiveness. Do not forget to impose your authority on them. Be upfront when your employee is not meeting the deadlines. Explain the consequences of their actions and give them a fair chance or warning.
Also, avoid being overly friendly or too familiar with your workers. It is okay to be nice to them, but being too familiar may make them feel they can act like the boss.
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7. Create room to breathe
Even with a huge amount of workload, make sure to give your remote employees room to breathe. Let them take short breaks during the day and enjoy their vacation leaves. Doing so will help them recover from getting overwhelmed with work.
Be mindful how your telecommuting employees spend their breaks. Keep a close eye on how long they take their breaks and make them accountable on how they spend their time. Always remind them about work-life balance.
8. Give feedback and ask for their inputs
Your remote employees will greatly appreciate it if they know the pros and cons of the work they do. Give them feedback on what you like about their work and what they need to improve on. Be concrete in praising their skills. For example, commend your employee’s excellent workload planning for her big projects.
Aside from your feedback, make sure to hear their side, as well. Ask about their opinions about their workload and how you can help them. Be ready to listen to what they have to say and work on those aspects together.
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9. Provide the means to help them improve
Training remote employees can help increase their effectiveness. Your workers will appreciate it if you give opportunities for them to learn more about the nature of their workload. Provide them with videos, apps, or seminars to attend to help them improve their craft. This will greatly boost your effectiveness in employee management because your remote workers will become excited and motivated to work.
10. If possible, set a schedule for a grand meet-up
Find ways to bond with telecommuting employees, like meeting up with them. This will help them build trust and confidence in one another. They also get to talk in person about other things aside from work.
Mix some fun in your grand meet-up by turning it into a team-building activity. Ask your remote employees about what they want to do during the said meet-up.
Managing remote employees is no easy task. With these right steps and attitudes, you can undoubtedly train employees to be responsible and competent. After all, responsible employees are like loyal customers. Their excellent performance will translate into a better brand reputation and sales for your company.
Roger Gallager is a Marketing and Sales specialist. He has written a wide range of articles about money circulation, marketing strategies, business world, real estate, home and community improvement/ security, mobile technology.