In the last few years, we have seen a total revolution in how we have been doing business. For example, people used to physically be present in their workplaces, meetings, and other activities. However, with the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, our normal schedules were significantly interrupted. It was impossible to socialize freely like before, social distancing was introduced, and movement was restricted. Some businesses were affected to the point of closing down.
However, some businesses were able to quickly adopt remote working, keeping them in business and clear of their competitors who were still struggling to survive and adapt to the new normal. However, the culture gradually started being adopted and accepted in businesses. This changed how managers manage their workers and the operations within their industry. To help managers adapt to this new way of management, we are providing you with the Managing Remote Workers Toolkit.
Managing Remote Workers Toolkit
Managers may be used to managing a team physically. However, with the onset of remote working, this managing remote workers toolkit will help managers sustain the operations of their teams and maintain productivity. We will help make things easier, especially during project management and telecommuting. Workspaces can now be easily monitored, remote jobs allocated and assessed, and the general work-life improved through these management tools.
Once your remote working team gets down to work, you will need to assign tasks, track their progress, produce their timesheets, produce and manage payrolls, telecommute, and communicate.
As a remote work manager, some tools will come in handy and help you to plan and manage your team. Some of these tools include:
- Task management tools
- Time trackers
- Tools to track invoices
- Cloud services
- Collaboration tools
- Workflow management tools
- Project management software
- Freelance service platforms
- Digital assistant
- Tracking software
- Task management software and systems
Pros and Cons of Managing Remote Workers
One might wonder, with all these options, what do I stand to benefit by adopting such tools? Well, below are some of the advantages of managing your workers remotely.
It boosts the engagement of your team
If there is one thing that comes with remote jobs is flexibility. For example, a work-from-home policy will allow your team to work from the comfort of their home. The team will be good to go as long as they have a good internet connection and the relevant devices (such as laptops, computers, and smartphones). Conferencing and other services have been made easier; you can now attend a work meeting from the comfort of your home office.
The fact that you can easily monitor your team means that everyone will be available and doing their best to participate. The message you will be sending to you employees is: do your job from wherever you are comfortable.
Your team can share knowledge openly
A team thrives through communication. It is a critical key in whether a business succeeds or fails. For example, if you have a problem within your production process, you will need views and opinions from your team when trying to develop project management solutions.
Teams and businesses that carry out their operations remotely will need a manager with a good understanding on how to manage remote workers. However, the good thing about working remotely is the fact that honest and open communication is still possible. In fact, it eliminates the general barrier that might be there within a team, ensuring that every member is free to engage, no matter how shy they are.
Improves the overall performance of your team
When managing a team that is working remotely, all you need is to implement some best practices. From here, everything else will be smooth and straightforward. For example, if you have a good communication tool, you will easily monitor the productivity of your remote team and ensure that you are always available to provide support when needed.
A remote employee has to be monitored; but at the same time it is important to give them enough autonomy to do their job. By being present, you will easily pick out the ones slowing down your productivity and appreciate those with good remote task management skills.
Does remote work save time? Consider this; before you get to work, you have to wake up in the morning, prepare and pack up your things then commute to work. Imagine eliminating all this hassle while you can just wake up, switch on your laptop, and get to work.
As a manager, you can assign tasks to your team, send attachments they require, monitor the progress, and give feedback quickly with the right technologies and tools in place.
Establishing a digital water cooler
Water cooler talks are sometimes missed among remote team members. However, a good manager knows the benefits of such activities in a work environment; not everything should revolve around work 100% of the time.
A good managing remote workers toolkit can develop these water cooler talks and let off steam. For example, platforms such as Basecamp can allow you to establish channels where such water cooler talks can occur. This goes a long way in strengthening the bond between your team and building rapport. They can even use such channels several times per week, and it will do your business a whole lot of good.
There are additional advantages that come with remote work. However, there are still a few disadvantages too. They include:
The team might lose that physical touch
Even with all the convenience and flexibility, remote working lacks physical interaction. Conversation, presentations, meetings, and even water cooler talks are just not the same when working remotely.
Later in this Managing Remote Workers toolkit, we will provide a few methodologies to avoid this. Productivity levels can still be maintained at a high level even in a remote environment.
It is difficult to integrate new employees to the company culture
When a new employee joins the team, they are getting acquainted with the company culture and how things are done. While the paperwork and administrative parts of onboarding can be done electronically and automated with software, it is still difficult to convey values and culture through a screen. For this reason, managers have to pay extra attention to the communication and development of their team members, especially newcomers.
How Can a Manager Support Remote Employees?
Yes, remote work has its challenges, a fraught of them, actually. However, there are simple tips that will ease the transition and help better manage remote workers. Some of these include:
For example, you can establish a daily call policy at the beginning of a workday for every team member. You can use these meetings to discuss project plans, assign tasks, and answer any questions. You can hold one-to-one talks or make it easier for you by using team calls for employees working together.
There are numerous tools you can use to facilitate your check-ins. Whatever choice you go with, ensure that it is user-friendly and everyone in the team is comfortable with it.
Use of different technologies for communications
As a manager, you do not have to limit your interactions with the team to emails alone. They are not only insufficient, but they can also become cliché. Good managers look for better modes of communication. For example, you can decide to integrate video conferencing into your communication system. This will give your team members the ability to use none verbal cues and other benefits when communicating.
Establish clear objectives
One of the things that high productive remote teams have in common is a set of expectations and goals that have to be achieved within a certain period. As a manager, you should see to it that every person in your team knows what they should do and when they should do it. With the aid of online solutions, you can easily monitor their progress and make corrections where necessary.
Establish rules of engagement
Additionally, you can set some rules governing how you communicate with your team. For instance, you can agree that you will use zoom calls for meetings while IM is used in case of any emergencies. This way, you will be ready to deal with everything efficiently and effectively. Another example could be that all work from home jobs and assignments should be submitted through email.
Remote work can be challenging, especially if you are not used to it as a manager. However, with clear rules and objectives, a focused team, unity, and good communication, you will breeze through it easily. Statistics show that remote work will even get more popular in the years to come. That said, the faster you adapt, the better positioned your business will be in the industry.