Four Best Practices for Managing a Remote Workforce

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Remote Workforce|Four Best Practices for Managing a Remote WorkforceIf it hasn’t happened yet, it’s bound to come soon — your employee wants to transition to working remotely full-time. Maybe you’ve had to experiment with remote working in the last year like much of the world or perhaps your team members have friends or family members that have discovered how great remote work can be for quality of life and now they want their own shot at making it work.

Before you write off the idea completely, it’s important to consider the benefits of offering remote work to your employees. From helping with recruitment to reducing expenses, offering flexibility in work location can be a great alternative to a traditional office for the right employee. It takes planning, great communication, and a little creative thinking but it’s an idea worth considering.

Before you dive in to offering remote work as an option for your team, here are four best practices to consider.

Set clear expectations from the start

As with any new working arrangement, setting clear expectations is mandatory. By communicating what you expect from the beginning, you dramatically reduce the chance of conflict and disappointment later. Take the time to set clear boundaries around business hours, attendance policies for team meetings, and technology requirements (like keeping video on for calls) and in the end, both the employee and the business will benefit.

Keep remote employees engaged

It can be difficult to manage both in-person and remote team members simultaneously. Take a moment to check in with remote employees daily, either through email, virtual chat, a video call, or text and let them know they are valued. If the “out of sight, out of mind” approach is taken, employee performance and motivation can suffer and lead to unwanted turnover.

Take advantage of remote resources

Some positions are more easily adapted to remote work than others. For example, an analyst or researcher who spends a great deal of time behind a computer is more likely to adapt to a remote-working arrangement than a receptionist or assistant who answers calls and serves other team members throughout the day. However, this doesn’t mean those employees don’t deserve a shot at working from home, too! If your business requires someone to frequently answer incoming calls and yet you also want to offer a remote working arrangement, call answering makes good sense. By taking advantage of resources designed to help businesses adapt to having a remote workforce, you’re more likely to see the benefits of virtual working like having more productive employees and cutting costs on in-office expenses.

Get creative with the technology

It’s easy to fall into a rut of using Zoom or Google Hangouts to conduct yet another video conference call or relying on email to answer the latest questions about a report or project. Instead of risking employee burnout by holding every meeting via Zoom, consider getting creative in your approach. Ask everyone to take the afternoon meeting call outside and turn their cameras around so team members can virtually enjoy some new scenery. Send a fun “get to know you” poll via instant messaging on Fridays and ask team members to participate in sharing their favorite recent book or tv show. By demonstrating that technology can be used creatively, employees can see their remote-working circumstances as a valuable benefit and become more grateful in the process.

Remote working is likely here to stay so by using some of these best practices, you’re more likely to benefit from the “new normal” and might even end up enjoying it!

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