Although remote work was becoming more prevalent before 2020, the pandemic forced many companies to embrace a fully remote workforce, and now remote working has become a normal way of doing business.
In a June 2021 survey from Quantum Workplace, 30 percent of respondents considered themselves to be hybrid employees and 35 percent said they were working remotely. Furthermore, an analysis from Ladders found that 25 percent of all jobs in North America will be remote by the conclusion of 2022.
Management styles are having to adjust accordingly. For some people, this adjustment hasn’t been easy. Some managers are still hesitant to embrace remote working, perhaps thinking it is only a temporary response to COVID. But the pandemic clearly changed expectations, and managers are now expected to effectively manage remote employees.
With this in mind, consider the following best practices for managing a remote team.
How Do You Better Manage a Remote Team?
Maintain Clear Expectations
In a remote work environment, it’s easy for employees to lose track of who’s responsible for what, and so it’s vital for employees to have a strong sense of what must get done. Research has shown employees are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged if they have clear expectations.
Separate big projects and responsibilities into smaller tasks or responsibilities for separate employees. Establish milestones for both small tasks and large projects. Set expectations for deliverables and completed tasks.
Establish Specific Communication Guidelines
Communication is more critical than ever when employees are only connected over the internet. Remote workers are more likely to feel disconnected and this can result in chronic miscommunication.
Establishing specific communication guidelines can ensure that remote workers are kept in the loop and not wasting time due to misunderstandings. Communication guidelines should include information on preferred channels for various tasks, preferred communication times, and expected turnaround times for emails. Consideration should also be given to how hybrid workers handle switching between remote communications to on-premise communications.
People may associate remote work with a lazy attitude, but research has shown remote and hybrid employees are more likely to work more than 50 hours per week, compared to on-premise employees.
Recommend a schedule that includes coffee breaks, personal time, and time for fresh air. Place more emphasis on results than time spent working. Recommend setting boundaries that could both ‘do not disturb’ times and personal times.
Compared to a remote environment, manager-employee relationships are more easily maintained in an office environment. Understandably, some managers struggle to maintain constructive relationships with team members when they are working remotely. The result can a lack of trust in employees and the urge to micromanage remote staff.
Managers can offset small tendencies to micromanage by focusing on building relationships and trust. Occasional team-building exercises, like remote coffee breaks and happy hours, can help forge stronger personal connections. Keeping hard deadlines to a minimum shows trust in employees while acknowledging the looser nature of remote working.
We Can Help You Find Self-Starter for Your Remote Team
A productive remote team starts with self-sufficient employees. If you are looking to fill fully-remote or hybrid positions, please contact us today to find out how we can find the best-fit candidates.