A few years ago we were managing our teams face to face. Now we’re hiring new employees without meeting them in person, conducting reviews over Zoom and encouraging teams to bond with virtual Friday drinks.
With this work from anywhere culture here to stay, managers need to adopt strategies to efficiently and effectively manage their remote workforce.
This best practice guide will help you create a working environment that’s productive for you and your remote employees.
1. Stay connected
With face to face interaction a thing of the past, keeping a connection with your employees is more important than ever. After all, your team can no longer walk up to your desk when they need to ask a question or request to catch up. This can, in turn, contribute to feelings of isolation and disconnection amongst your team.
To avoid this happening within your team, it’s worth scheduling weekly 1 to 1s to give your employees a platform to update you on their workload, ask for support, raise questions or let off some steam. Try your best not to cancel or re-schedule these to maintain as much structure within your team as possible.
allwhere’s tip: A virtual, daily team huddle is an efficient way to check in on each other and keep workflow on track.
2. Agree on ways of working
Right at the start of your remote working relationship, ensure that every employee is clear about how you will work together in this virtual world.
Establish processes, communication channels and boundaries. For example, ‘We’ll use Zoom for our 1 to 1s and instant message for anything urgent.' This gives employees structure and peace of mind that they can reach out to you if they need to.
Be transparent about the best times to reach you during the workday. For example, ‘I tend to be in meetings in the morning so it’s better to text me, but in the afternoon I have more availability for a longer catch up.’
Setting these boundaries is a win-win for both parties. It helps remote employees feel connected to you, but avoids your phone persistently buzzing with calls and texts all day.
allwhere’s tip: Develop a virtual open door policy by keeping your calendar visible so that your team knows when they can check in with you.
3. Trust your employees
After all, you hired them for a reason!
It can be easy to slip into micromanaging when you’re not working in the same office with visual oversight. Try to set clear expectations and trust that your employees will work hard for you.
Inject a bit of flexibility into your management approach - people tend to be more productive at different times of day. You might have early risers who complete tasks pre 9am or night owls who produce their best work post 5pm. Aim to develop an understanding of your employee’s unique situations, and then accommodate accordingly - for example, some team members might have to be offline for part of the afternoon when they have a gap in childcare, other team members might be working in different time zones and be logging in at different hours.
allwhere’s tip: Focus on results rather than activity. If the work is done, and done well, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is delivered.
4. Install the right tech and equipment
In a remote work environment, the right technology is essential. Make sure your remote employees can access all of the online systems that they need to complete their work and have them install necessary communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams or Skype.
Also, ensure that each employee has all of the equipment required in their home office to safely and successfully work - think ergonomic chair, laptop stand, second screen.
allwhere’s tip: Did you know that allwhere offers real-time IT support and can deliver replacement equipment overnight when tech fails? Let us take care of IT issues so that you can strike that off of your long list. Learn more here.
5. Communicate well
Holding meetings, training sessions and reviews through a screen rather than in the same room means that it can be difficult to read body language, recognize tone of voice nuances and get a real sense of what employees are feeling or thinking. Be sensitive to this and always read between the lines.
Deciphering when it’s appropriate to have a video call rather than an email is key, and make sure you ask questions and communicate regularly with your remote employees, not just when things go wrong.
allwhere’s tip: Learn how each employee operates. Some might thrive in a work from anywhere environment, whilst others might feel isolated and vulnerable. Tailor the way you communicate to each of your employees to get the best out of them.
6. Keep things social
For many workplaces, morning chats at the coffee machine and Friday evening beers are a thing of the past. Don’t underestimate the importance of social interaction. Small conversation starters like asking about an employee’s holiday or their favorite pet can help to reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging.
Here are some tips:
- Leave time at the start of team calls for non-work items and casual chat.
- Organize Zoom Friday drinks or, even better, think outside the box and schedule pizza parties, pub quizzes or cocktail making masterclasses.
- Recognize special occasions such as birthdays, work anniversaries, weddings and baby showers.
- Share information and encourage your team to do the same - whether that’s learnings from other meetings or projects or an interesting article you read online.
allwhere’s tip: Use channels like Slack to be social; you can set up separate threads and encourage informal chats between your team members.
Transform your management strategy.
There’s certainly a lot to think about when managing a remote workforce. You’re now armed with plenty of tips and strategies from this guide to help influence your management style moving forwards. Get started today and your team will not only enjoy their work from anywhere experience, they’ll be productive and successful in their roles.
allwhere equips teams with everything they need to work from anywhere. We’ll help you create a world-class workplace with a suite of services such as: outsourced, centralized procurement; full lifecycle asset management (deployment, replacement, retrieval, storage, disposal, and redeployment); and more to help teams navigate the future of work. To learn more, book a demo with us here.