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How You Can Effectively Manage Your Remote Workers


COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the world in several different ways, with remote working being one of the few positive trends popularised by the pandemic, and it seems like it's here to stay. According to the Office of National Statistics, 24% of the workforce now work exclusively from home. Therefore, employers must seek ways to manage their remote teams for the best results effectively. So, if you’d like to know how to manage remote employees effectively, then take a look at these points below.


  1. Set Clear Expectations Early


Several business experts agree that a crucial part of successfully managing your remote team is ensuring that your employees know your exact expectations from them. Therefore, communicate your expectations to your employees so that no one is unclear about what to do. These expectations must provide guidelines, set boundaries, and reinforce some basic protocol. For example, it is vital to let your workers know how often you want them to check-in. 


You must also provide specific assignments and outline clear priorities on these assignments, especially if your workers are juggling multiple tasks. You must also provide clear expectations on deadlines, output quality, budgets, and processes, so your employees understand what to do. Employees must also be clear on their schedules to avoid any lost productivity, so consider the best free employee scheduling software to keep you updated on shifts and keep your business running effectively.


  1. Encourage A Home Office Setup


Before the pandemic, there has been little need for workers to have dedicated workspaces within their homes for work. However, recent developments necessitate that employees regularly working from home need home offices. As such, encourage your employees to create dedicated workspaces that are separate from communal space. Many companies even offer stipends to their workforce to create appropriate and conducive spaces for remote work, so you should consider this too. 


Alternatively, you can adopt the more convenient and cheaper option of allowing workers to check out their ergonomic chairs, monitors, and keyboards from your office space to take home. Dedicated workspaces are critical to worker productivity at home, freeing employees from home life's routine distractions such as noisy children. Therefore, prioritise creating dedicated workspaces in your employees' homes to help them mentally separate work from home for increased efficiency.


  1. Ensure Social Connection


A reported 20% of remote workers struggle with loneliness. Indeed, several experts continue to raise critical concerns about whether remote working is fueling a mental health crisis. Psychology is clear on how humans are inherently social beings, so we need connection more than ever in these times of isolation and distress. As such, prioritise effective social connection as one of the most impactful ways to manage your remote workers. 


Dedicate time in online meetings and other collaboration spaces for non-work related topics and group connection. For example, you can create a dedicated channel for posting videos and photos, personal updates, and jokes to stay connected. You can also organise special remote social events that fit your team culture. This way, your workers receive vital emotional support that keeps them going throughout these trying times. It also shows that you care about your employees' welfare, deepening the bond between management and workers and among employees.



  1. Equip Workers With The Right Tools 


Another essential aspect of successfully managing remote teams is to make all the necessary tools ranging from tech tools to stationery readily accessible as needed. Your organisation likely had communication and collaboration tools in place pre-pandemic, but new developments undoubtedly necessitate more use of these tools and the need to accomplish more with them. 


Apart from standard emails, ensure that your workforce has text-based collaboration tools that encourage easy sharing of information. It would also help if you promoted video conferencing tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting to facilitate easy brainstorming and other highly interactive communication. Providing access to file sharing and storage tools like DropBox and other cloud services is also crucial to effective remote working. Lastly, online training resources should be helpful to empower employees with knowledge and skills to function effectively.


  1. Avoid Micromanaging


Remote work's appeal to employees mainly lies in the autonomy they enjoy. However, employers can quickly assume that workers aren't working or sticking to dedicated tasks, creating uncertainty about whether the work will be completed on time and according to standards. As such, leaders may want to micromanage their teams, bombarding employees with communications and requests for progress reports. This behaviour can be stressful for both parties, and employees may feel they aren't trusted to work effectively. Many studies show that remote working is even more productive than work within an actual office, so several experts recommend focusing on outcomes instead of micromanaging worker activity. 


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