As of 2021, an estimated 26% of the American workforce is working remotely. By 2025, about 36.5 million Americans will be remote workers.
Remote work is here to stay. So managing remote workers is critical.
Unfortunately, managing remote workers is often more difficult than managing on-site employees. The lack of face time can make it tough to know what’s going on and make communication even trickier.
But there are ways you can improve your management style for a happier team. Here are our top seven tips on how to manage remote workers.
1. Create a Culture of Appreciation
Remote workers can feel disconnected from the company and each other. When they’re not around, it’s easy to forget about them or assume that things are going well when in reality, there might be problems on the team.
So, create an environment where your employees always know you appreciate their hard work. Whether through email or Slack updates, make sure people get regular encouragement from managers and peers.
This move will help people feel supported and connected, creating a more positive work environment.
Don’t just wait for special occasions like birthdays or work anniversaries to show appreciation. Everyday communication is important, too — it’s part of the little things that go a long way in managing a remote workplace.
2. Use Collaboration Tools
One of the biggest challenges in managing remote workers is that managers can’t see what’s happening. That means it requires a lot more effort to communicate and keep everyone in the loop about work goals, progress, and any issues that might arise.
When you don’t have face-to-face time with your employees, there’s often less opportunity for spontaneous conversations where important things come up organically.
So how can you fix this? Ensure all your team members know they need to use collaboration tools like Slack.
Tools like these take the pressure off managers to fill all the work-related communication.
Though managing remote workers might be more challenging, it’s possible to do if you use collaboration tools and encourage employees to share their progress. That way, managers can stay in the loop about what’s going on despite not being physically present.
3. Set Common Goals for Success
When managing remote workers, it’s important to create goals that everyone on the team can work towards. That way, you avoid any confusion about what needs and by who.
And the best part? You don’t even need face time with your employees to make this happen. Remote managers can easily lead by example by setting common goals via email, Slack updates, conference calls, etc.
The trick here is creating deadlines without micromanaging people too much. Make sure every deadline leaves enough room for autonomy. That way, tasks aren’t assigned in a rigid manner but instead are completed in a timely fashion while still allowing flexibility.
It might take trial and error to get the right balance, but managing remote workers is possible by creating clear goals and deadlines.
4. Set Up Regular Check-Ins
Managing a remote workforce can be a challenge because there isn’t as much face time to create trust and transparency. But managing based on assumptions is never helpful for anyone. It’s important to set up regular check-ins with employees so that managers know what everyone is working on, how they’re feeling about their projects, etc.
These conversations don’t have to happen in person. You can do them by video call or over the phone if that fits your team best. All you need is a way for employees to relay important information about their tasks.
When managing remote workers, the best thing you can do is ask them questions at regular intervals. That way, you can make sure they are on track with any deadlines or other goals that have been set.
5. Avoid Micromanaging
Managers who micromanage might be managing remote workers, but they’re not managing effectively. The only way to avoid this problem is by trusting employees with tasks and allowing them the autonomy to get it done in their own way.
There’s probably room for error if you are managing someone based on assumptions rather than facts. And when that happens, it creates tension between managers and team members. Everyone feels like no one has faith in them or their work ethic.
However, trust needs to go both ways. Employees also need to take responsibility for where they stand on projects to avoid missed deadlines.
6. Hire the Right People
Managing remote workers requires managing employees who are self-motivated and can work autonomously. That way, it’s easier to trust them with tasks without micromanaging or having lots of meetings to discuss project progress.
It might be harder than usual for managers to manage remote team members if they’re not the right fit. So make sure you hire reliable professionals who know how to get things done and can manage their time.
Managing independent and strong work ethic employees is the best way to manage remote workers. They’re self-motivated and can work autonomously, which makes managing easier.
7. Manage Risk
You need to be aware of the risks associated with managing employees who are not in your physical presence. Security breaches or data loss could put sensitive information at risk if an employee is working from home without adequate protection measures in place.
However, managing remote workers doesn’t have to be risky. You can take appropriate precautions and set up strong security protocols for employees’ devices and accounts.
You also need to ensure that your team members know how to handle sensitive data in a secure manner. These measures will help reduce risks for your business while still allowing people to work from home.
Find out more about the risks of remote work management here.
Managing Remote Workers the Right Way
Managing remote workers can seem like a challenge at first, but it’s certainly possible to do so effectively with the right approach. By following these seven tips, this task can be a breeze.
We hope you’ve found these tips and strategies helpful. Keep following our blog for more.