Remote teams require a different level of support from middle or upper management than stationary workforces. When operating remotely it becomes a lot more difficult to micromanage or focus on what each employee is working on in detail.
Set Boundaries and Expectations
Create a specific but not rigid set of processes the facilitate communication and productivity while working remotely. Some organizations set rules that emails should be responded to within 24 hours of being sent or that progress reports must be sent by the end of the week. Sharing expectations of how quickly tasks should be completed or how many days hours each person should be working can avoid misunderstanding and maintain a clear standard of operating for everyone.
One on One Meetings
Determine a specific time slot where you’re available to talk to remote employees one on one, preferably over a video conferencing tool, but even on the phone, where you can coach each member of your team and answer general questions and can easily stay up to date. Regular and personalized engagement can enhance how remote workers regard themselves in terms of importance within their company. When employees feel unimportant their morale and productivity can decline.
Don’t eliminate the possibility of in person encounters. Hosting a company wide gathering can help remote team members get acquainted and create bonds that they can carry on and leverage when they continue to work remotely. Gather your team on a regularly scheduled basis on top of one on one meetings.
Reliable software can help teams collaborate, sustain productivity, and allow management to oversee what remote workers are doing virtually. Audit trails can give management independent access to high-level or detailed decisions and processes which can give insight into why actions were taken or what changes were made without having to explicitly ask. This functionality can help management get involved when need be, as a well spot check progress of remote teams.
As a result of video conferencing tools, 87% of remote workers say that they feel more connected. Video conferences as opposed to phone calls result in better engagement. Because all parties can see each other there is decreased opportunity for anyone to be distracted by incoming emails, texts, or any other stimuli. Without distractions and multi tasking you can have more meaningful conversation over a shorter time slot.
Reminding remote workers that there is an open line of communication between them and management means whether through email, phone calls, or even text messages can provide remote workers with the confidence to execute knowing they can ask a question whenever they need.
Ask your employees to individually send updates at the end of the week that detail what they’ve worked on over the past week. This doesn’t need to necessarily be detailed but just comprehensive enough to a) allow each person to hold themselves accountable and b) give management an overview of how productivity is being impacted by the change of setting.
Be Goal Oriented
When your teams are remote you can’t be in control of how every hour or minute is being used, it’s easier and more manageable to decide what needs to be completed within a set period of time and have teams execute based on specific goals.