The number of covid-19 cases in the UK is rapidly rising, and one of the main preventive measures is to stay home. This means that millions of employees have swapped the office for their living room, and this swap could last for months (or even years).
So if you manage a team, you may be wondering how to proceed. After all, remote work brings a new set of management issues – but thankfully many of the same principles remain the same. You just need to know how to adapt!
Here are six tips for successfully managing remote employees.
1. Successfully Managing Remote Employees: Set Clear Goals
The first thing you should do is set clear goals for your team. Assign different goals to different employees, and set clear time frames and expectations for them to follow. This means everyone will be prepared to work from home, so the team will still function as a whole (even if everyone is spread across the UK!).
2. Engage With Each Other Regularly
It is important for remote employees to engage with their manager. There are lots of ways to this; email, phone, Skype, WhatsApp or a workplace portal system. This means that employees can provide regular progress updates, and they can also get help if they are struggling.
So take the time to set up a weekly group meeting with your employees, and consider setting up one-on-one coaching meetings with specific employees if they are struggling. These frequent interactions will help to motivate and encourage employees, and it means that issues are less likely to arise in the future.
3. Use Effective Online Tools
There are lots of online tools you can use to stay in touch with your employees, but some are more efficient (and affordable!) than others. For instance, Trello is an excellent free tool that allows managers to make schedules that can be seen by employees. This includes both public and private schedules, so you can make team schedules or individual schedules; whatever suits you best.
Another great free tool is Zoom, which can be used to host video conferences. Normally companies have to pay to use this tool, but it is currently free to help business owners out during COVID-19.
Are you worried about your business during COVID-19? If so, please consider reading checking out this financial advice for British small business owners during covid-19.
4. Make Sure All Your Employees Understand How To Use The Tools
It is also important to make sure your employees actually know how to use the online tools you have provided. It can be tempting to assume that everyone will be able to figure out how to use the tools themselves, but this isn’t always the case – and if they use the tools incorrectly for days, their work will suffer.
Thankfully you can avoid this happening by writing a bullet point beginner’s guide for employees to read. You can do this using email, or you could use Google Docs or Evernote; both are excellent, free online tools that allow you to easily share documents with employees.
5. Create An Online Water Cooler
At work your employees get to relieve tension by bonding in the break room or by the water cooler, but sadly this isn’t an option for remote employees. Luckily it is possible to replicate the break room or water cooler; just schedule 10 minutes at the beginning or end of every meeting so that employees can catch up and give personal updates. This will make employees feel more connected and valued, and it can also help to reduce feelings of isolation.
6. Trust Your Employees
Finally it is important to trust your employees. It can be stressful not being able to watch over them, but multiple studies have found that employees are just as productive when they work from home. So set goals and guidelines for employees, and then give them the chance to prove that they can work just as well from home as they would do in an office!