If you’re a manager, they know what you’re thinking: Remote working employees? You don’t want them. They’ll never be as dedicated as your onsite team members. But that’s just not true! With the right tools and management strategies, remote workers can be just as engaged and productive as any other type of employee. Here are some tips for managing a remote workforce and making sure your work-from-home team members stay engaged with their jobs—and with your company:
Delegate when possible
As a manager, you should be comfortable letting employees take on more responsibility. You should also be willing to delegate tasks so they can gain the skills and experience they need to grow within the company. This is especially important for remote workers because it helps them feel like they are part of a team and gives them something meaningful to do in their day-to-day responsibilities.
Build a team-first culture
A team-first culture is one in which employees feel like they’re part of a family and not just a cog in the machine. A good example of this is Slack, whose chief product officer, April Underwood, said that the company has “a very clear sense of who we are.”
A team-first culture helps employees by giving them more autonomy and flexibility to do their jobs. It also makes them feel less isolated if they work remotely or have flexible hours because they’ll have more colleagues around at all times.
Sutherland experts say, “Leaders must deploy new technologies and processes to lay a path forward for their teams.”
Giving your employee space to make decisions means letting them learn from their mistakes. This is a great way for you to know if they can make good decisions, even when you’re not around.
Remember that your remote worker is still part of your team and that their responsibilities are important for the success of your business. Don’t be afraid to give them more responsibility – it will only help build their confidence and improve their performance.
Offer performance feedback often
Your employees will likely feel on trial when you do their annual review. This can lead to a lot of tension, and it doesn’t give them a chance to feel confident in their work. Instead, give feedback as often as possible.
For example, you should have regular 1-on-1s with your remote employees, even if you only meet once weekly or so. In addition, they would recommend doing something similar with all of your remote workers—quarterly or monthly check-ins via email or video chat (and using the same format for everyone).
Trust your employees
The first thing you need to do is trust your employees. They’ll have a hard time working remotely if they feel like they’re being watched or monitored, so make sure that you’re staying focused on them and checking up on their work sparingly.
As long as they’ve got everything they need to do their job, trust them to get it done—and if something needs more attention, let them know! You can also give them permission for certain things.
As remote working becomes the norm, it’s important to remember that while flexibility can be a huge benefit, it comes with its own challenges. The key is to create a culture where employees feel valued, trusted, and supported in their work. By creating and fostering this environment of trust and shared responsibility, you’ll be able to get more done with fewer resources—and help your remote workers thrive.