Managing remote employees has introduced a unique set of challenges that require equally unique solutions. So what are the extra efforts executives need to make to connect and engage with their remote teams so they don't grow unproductive over time? In fact, managing remote teams requires a whole different set of practices, strategies and skills compared to managing a team located within the same office. In this article, we will discuss the top skills executives must demonstrate to manage their remote employees effectively.
Trust Your Team
Some companies limit remote work or telecommuting and are not ready to fully embrace it, because they’re uncertain about whether their employees will be as productive as they would be when at the office. According to remote executives, trust issues and differing perceptions on how work should be carried out are the biggest obstacles preventing companies from implementing remote work. Nevertheless, managers should avoid trying to control everything employees do because it damages employee trust. They should, instead, have regular check-ins, establish clear communication and set guidelines for employees to follow which would make them feel more comfortable with their employees’ absence from the office.
Analyze Reports Correctly
Collecting user productivity reports is an important and complex stage of managing remote teams and measuring their productivity. When gathering data, it’s important not to rush straight to identifying and punishing the least productive remote workers. Instead, carefully analyze the information at hand to know the reasons and find ways to help each employee. This would encourage collaboration, commitment and cohesion between executives and their remote workers.
Learn the Strengths of Each Employee
Each one of us has certain tasks that we are particularly good at. When analyzing productivity reports, compare the characteristics of several employees to determine their strengths and assign them more suitable tasks in the future.
Find the Reasons for Unproductive Behavior
You can use activity monitoring to detect and record cases of unproductivity, and then analyze them to easily outline the reasons for unproductiveness which could be: lack of knowledge, skills, tools, constant distractions, a need for motivation, and so on. Communicate with each individual to help all employees overcome the difficulties they face and become more productive.
Find the Most Productive Working Hours
Very few people are equally productive during the whole traditional workday. That’s why remote employees tend to organize their days flexibly: they start working when they’re more efficient and take breaks when they need to relax. Discuss this with your employees and put together a schedule that corresponds to each employee’s productive working hours.
Focus on Goals
It’s important to focus on the big picture - on what is being accomplished rather than what is being done on a micro-level. Executives must train themselves to worry less and limit their control. If the team is meeting the goals, then there is no need to worry about minor things.
It’s easy to recognize the hard work of an employee when you’re in an office, but when you’re miles away and your team is scattered around the country, it would be difficult to find a suitable time to do so. However, it is important to find ways to appreciate good performance and allow your employees to feel valued just as they would feel if they’re working from the office. You can mention an employee’s achievement on a Zoom call, send a company-wide email or give that employee an unexpected time off. Rewards and recognition are effective tools for boosting morale in the workforce.
Managing remote employees effectively may not seem an easy task, but with practice and thoughtful leadership, managers will become great remote managers who can push employees’ performance forward. There are also productivity tools that can help managers achieve this goal, such as the productivity intelligence technology that MENTOR offers under MENTORPERFORMA™ which helps managers who are struggling to understand what is holding back their employees and what type of skills development is needed to enhance their capabilities and increase their productivity. You can talk to one of our consultants or read more about that technology here.
You can also download our white paper about How Employee Productivity Intelligence Impacts Your Remote Worker.