4 Rules of Thumb for Managing a Remote WorkforceMay 10, 2016 - By: Jason Carney
As businesses grow globally, companies often have employees located in different cities across the country, and even on different continents. As a result, it is becoming more common for employers to offer telecommuting as an added company culture benefit, using it as a way to recruit and retain talent.
Considering how your business can implement an effective telecommuting policy? Here are four rules to follow to successfully manage a remote workforce.
If you’ve managed a team before, then you understand how important good morale is for productivity. Keeping that morale at an optimum level when managing a virtual team can be challenging.
It’s important for employers to consider their employees’ point of view in order to offer the best support. Managers who prioritize team morale will be able to help their employees remain passionate and engaged with work. Productivity may slip when an employee feels disconnected. That’s why it’s essential to promote a sense of community and foster a team atmosphere regardless of physical proximity.
In order to run an effective remote team, take an interest in your employees as if you were seeing them face-to-face every day. Make an effort to ask how they are doing, and treat them with the same congeniality that you would if they were sitting at the desk next to you.
You can work from essentially anywhere with an internet connection in this day and age, but what may remain challenging is staying connected with your team. As a manager of a remote workforce, emphasize effective communication to help your remote team run as well as if you were all in the same location. Aside from daily communications, schedule weekly calls with more of a focus on specific projects. Use the weekly call to keep others informed on projects they may not necessarily be a part of. This will help your entire team see the “big picture” vision and help them feel connected to your larger business goals.
Because communication is so important in any working relationship, it’s crucial to be accessible to your remote employees on different channels. Let your team members know that they can contact you about projects or the direction of the company, and also when they have quick questions or concerns that are best addressed in a low-key fashion. Make sure they have different ways to contact you, from scheduled phone meetings and responsive emails, to quick IM chatting or texting.
Expectations and accountability are key. The team has common guidelines and it’s necessary to establish expectations about the productivity of remote employees from the start. To keep your employees on track and accountable, consider having them log start and finish times for the day, attend required meetings, or perhaps have them copy you on emails when submitting their work.
It’s also important to address employee performance regularly to ensure your team is meeting established goals, and that your remote employees are happy and productive in their roles.
Still wondering if a remote workforce is the right fit for your company, or if there may be other cost-saving opportunities available to your company? Contact WorkSmart Systems for ideas that suit your workforce.