The Key To Managing Remote Employees
Not only has the coronavirus pandemic made remote working a necessity, but it has also shown that it is a viable method of working. Where many companies were hesitant to engage with the idea prior to COVID-19, it has proved that, aside from social distancing, to be of benefit to many employees, offering a greater work-life balance, amongst other things.
However, some of the skills required to manage the workforce need to be rethought, as managing remote teams can bring its own set of problems. Employees may feel increasingly isolated, unsure how to manage their downtime, and at the risk of burning out, increasing the risk of employees suffering mental health issues, and of course, a lack of productivity.
There are some ways to help a remote workforce feel more included and an essential part of the team
Ensuring remote workers have the tools and information they need
While many companies have adopted cloud solutions to be able to share files and documents, there will be times when an employee needs information or files that are physically located in the office.
Without timely access to the documents or files or software they need, not only will it delay the delivery of projects, but can leave the employee feeling isolated and left out, unnecessarily adding to the stress and pressures of the job at hand.
Remoter workers must have all the information they require promptly. Large digital files can be sent via file transfer facilities such as Dropbox or Wetransfer.
Unified instant communications
Waiting for hours for a colleague or supervisor to respond to an email or phone call, once again, potentially delaying work, can be very frustrating for a remote worker, unable to physically go and see the person in question.
Companies, now more than ever, need to embrace modern communication solutions and rely less on email. There has been a vast increase in the use of video conferencing tools, such as Skype and Zoom, which are essential for face-to-face meetings and employee catchups.
It should also be remembered that many employees will miss the office gossip, ‘water cooler’ moments about last nights TV, or talk about the latest football news. Far from being time-wasting, these discussions help boost morale and establish relationships between colleagues, helping remote workers feel included.
Continue office traditions online
Similarly, some office traditions, such as birthdays, weddings, congratulations on a newborn, should not be forgotten. The same can be said for any theme days, such as Halloween or charity fundraising days that might have been a regular occurrence in the office.
Such traditions promoted inclusivity in the office, and they need to be adapted for the online workforce. Small efforts such as ensuring an employee receive birthday wishes, or even a card and a cake are truly appreciated and boost morale for all, not just the recipient.
Recognise employee performances
It was simple enough, when the workforce was office-based, to congratulate an employee on good work while crossing paths in the corridor or common areas of the office. It was casual but immensely positive.
This should not be forgotten, and workers should be congratulated on good work, whether in a private message or conversation or even single them out for praise in a team conference call, also giving colleagues the chance to congratulate them.
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