It is a great time to be an entrepreneur working from a home office or co-working space. Many business owners are well aware of the benefits of remote workers. They save money on gas, they can work around family schedules, and they can help companies reach talent pools across the globe. So it’s no surprise that as of February 2022, 18% of people work remotely full-time, and more than 4.3 million people in the USA work remotely. But it can be tricky to manage a remote team spread across the globe, and failing to do so can be bad for business. Luckily, I have compiled a list of six practices you need to follow to manage remote workers better.
1. Be Available
It is a rule of thumb that you should be available during work hours when working from home. And it goes for both managers and remote workers. For any query or task deliverance, managers and employees must be on the same page. And it requires communication. Not necessarily fast communication, but predictable communication, meaning a person will be in touch when expected.
It minimizes stress and anxiety and reduces delays in workflow. And the delay in getting a timely response makes workers feel distant. And to maximize availability and minimize delays, employers must ask three questions. First, it will help set proper boundaries and avoid confusion on work timings and possible communication delays.
- What are the work hours? It means when the workday starts and ends.
- What is the time frame to get a response? How long will it take to get a reply in terms of hours? And will this timeframe change based on the type of communication used? For example, will the matter need an urgent response depending on if it’s an email or a phone call?
- How will the employees reach back in case of an emergency such as a power outage due to a flood or tornado? Who needs to be notified first, the boss or the team lead?
These are all questions that need to get answered in advance. It is necessary because having answers to these questions will prevent delays in the future and ensure the team’s efficient availability.
2. Hold Weekly Meetings at Fixed Intervals
Hold weekly meetings to ensure employees remain up-to-date with the weekly tasks, milestones, and monthly goals. Weekly sessions can also help raise employees’ concerns they might have and ask questions proactively.
These meetings should include weekly one-on-one meetings, productivity reviews, and daily task meetings.
- The weekly one-on-one meetings will include a half-hour question answer with each employee to ask questions, get feedback and ideas, and review the tasks together.
- The weekly productivity review will be an inclusive meeting with all employees to discuss the weekly tasks as a whole team, sync their workload, and manage their priorities.
- The daily task meeting would involve reviewing each employee’s daily work. It could be in the form of a finished task that is demonstrable. It means managers would be able to add it to the list of finished jobs.
Managers need to ensure that these meetings occur at fixed intervals at the same time, every time. If an employee is unavailable, ensure it gets rescheduled immediately and does not clash with other employees’ time slots.
3. Prioritize Video Calls
Speaking of meetings, prioritize meetings over video calls instead of audio calls. It will help employees remain engaged with others and will add another dimension of emotion. It means that facial expressions and body language matter heavily during proper communication that is absent in audio-only conferencing. Plus, video calls add a more personal feel to presentations, and the human element assists in removing any communication gap.
Video calls will also make employees more attentive and allow them to dress up and keep in touch with everyone on the team. Ensure that more reserved members of the team and introverts feel included but not put in the spotlight, as it will make them anxious and less likely to participate in future video conferences.
4. Cater Toward each Employee’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The employees’ working habits have changed a lot because of the pandemic. And this makes analyzing employees’ strengths and weaknesses even more crucial when working remotely. During on-site work, it is easy to judge each employee and get to know their personality due to how often each employee interacts with each other daily. But this interaction gets removed from the equation when remote work is involved.
So HR managers need to be present during one-on-one meetings to assess each employee’s character and highlight their strengths and weaknesses. Then, the HR team should relay these strengths and weaknesses to the team managers to maximize each employee’s potential.
Using popular behavioral assessment techniques, managers can determine what makes a person tick. They can use such methods to assess what motivates and challenges each remote worker. This knowledge can then be extrapolated to understand which employee will excel at working at home and which employee will face a hard time.
For example, Team members with an influence or steadiness style are more social than others and may miss the daily interpersonal relationships that occur in the workplace. While the dominant team members require less social connection, they may struggle with productivity without the office structure. Conscientious employees will find the move from office to home the easiest.
Using the Emotional Quotient Inventory, you may wish to help those who score low on the scales of impulse control, flexibility, and stress tolerance.
5. Facilitate Employees
Even though working from home cuts a lot of company costs, such as work lunches, corporate dinners, subsidized traveling expenses, and office space rentals, it still incurs many costs. These costs usually come in the shape of facilitating employees so they can work comfortably from home.
These include hardware costs such as work computers, headphones, webcams, Wi-Fi routers, etc. You will also need to secure their work computers by upgrading their antivirus, firewalls, and communication tools such as messaging and teleconferencing. These all incur huge costs.
But to ensure employees remain productive while working from home, businesses need to facilitate them with the necessary office equipment and software without skimping.
6. Utilize Remote Tracking Apps
Because of how popular remote work has become, monitoring apps have become the norm. These apps will allow you to monitor your employees’ activities and collect data on their performance and overall attitude toward their jobs.
Furthermore, security and access rights are a current problem, as staff, not hackers, are now accountable for most data and security breaches. Security breaches can occur when users fail to use adequate settings, visit a malware-infected website, divulge their passwords carelessly, or connect to an unprotected Wi-Fi network.
While some staff monitoring software is still used for time tracking and efficiency management, others are more akin to network monitoring tools, focusing on overall network traffic and looking for trends that may indicate a problem.
Moreover, since data theft has become standard due to stolen hard drives and missing laptops, employers use tracking apps to wipe off data from employees’ hard drives remotely.
It’s not just data theft that’s a problem. Remote employees are generally more carefree and leave their workstations open or unmonitored. It can lead to hacks, data loss, scams, and ransomware attacks. Also, since the entire family typically uses home computers, a child could accidentally delete or share confidential files with friends.
These risks combined have made It necessary for companies to utilize remote-tracking apps. Some of the best remote employee phone tracking apps for 2022 are available in the market, so check them out.
These are the top 6 tips you must follow to enhance employee productivity while working from home. Remote work will only become more common as technology improves. Therefore, it is best to start practicing these tips ASAP to make the transition from office to home as smooth as possible.