Many employees dream of working from home, as it allows more flexibility and independence. For businesses, however, the idea of having remote workers can be a nightmare. Many supervisors fear that their employees won’t be as productive as they would in the office. There are also concerns about the lack of communication between team members.
The good news is that companies worldwide have found success in having remote workers. And you can too! Here are five tips for effectively managing your telecommuting team.
1) Set a Good Foundation
Want to prevent problems before they happen? Start by setting a good foundation for your remote team.
Every business’s foundation will look different, but we can recommend a couple of things that will make your life much easier.
For instance, whether you’re hiring new employees or transferring in-office workers to home offices, you should set clear expectations. Make it clear that remote work is contingent on having a private workspace space and adequate childcare.
Another “risk management” technique you could use is limiting distracting websites on your network. For example, through your software-defined WAN, you can block social media websites to help your workers stay focused.
2) Schedule Check-Ins
Even when you set your team up for success, you can’t expect it to run without supervision.
Some experts recommend daily check-ins to stay on top of your employees. These calls are the perfect opportunity to ensure everyone is on the same page, address questions, and get a little face time with those you work with.
In some instances, daily calls may feel excessive. If that’s the case, choose a frequency that’s appropriate for your business. Just make sure that you plan your calls to give your team the consistency they deserve.
3) Give Your Employees Some Independence
This point seems contradictory to #2, but the last thing you want to do is be a helicopter supervisor.
By giving your employees some degree of independence, you demonstrate trust. The sense of value that your employees will feel alone is enough to improve job performance.
As a supervisor, you can foster self-sufficiency in many ways. For example, you might delegate more responsibilities, appoint team leaders, or even be willing to let your team fail.
4) Be Attentive to Your Team’s Needs
Especially when you expect your team to be self-sufficient, you must give them the tools they need to succeed.
Appropriate tools will look different across each industry. However, most teams will require access to basic tasks such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing.
As your team adjusts to the work-from-home life, it will enviably require new or different resources. Be a good supervisor by being attentive to your employees’ needs. Instead of just observing their output, ask what you can do to make their work more productive.
5) Provide Opportunities for Social Interaction
Part of being attentive to your team’s needs is fulfilling their desire for social interaction.
We’ll concede that remote work naturally attracts independent people. But even the most reclusive employee can acknowledge how lonely working from home can be.
Fortunately, you have the power to boost morale. Consider something as simple as talking about non-work matters at the beginning of calls.
Want to take things a step further? Schedule video conferencing events that having nothing to do with work. Your employees will get to know each other and develop a stronger sense of community.
Remote employees are the backbone of many successful companies. As long as you listen to their needs and find the balance between supervision and independence, they’ll be just as productive as in-house team members (if not more).