As a manager, you probably already have some experience with remote workers. But you may not have anticipated having to manage a fully remote team as soon as this month or even this year. Recent events have forced the vast majority of workers out of common workspaces into their own homes and that leaves managers with a whole new set of challenges.
At ExakTime, an Arcoro company, we work in teams with members located around the country. Many of them already worked from home. Our managers have a lot of experience leading remote teams and we’ve learned some things we’re confident will allow us to remain successful, even in a fully remote environment. We wanted to share a few things we’ve learned that may not be obvious to you if don’t have experience managing a team in the cloud.
How To Manage Employees Who Work From Home Successfully
1) Communicate, communicate, communicate
When employees are out of sight, it’s easy for them to assume that they are out of mind. It’s human nature to do what is required of you, but not more.
- Get everyone on your team on the same page by clearly communicating goals and shared objectives. Follow up with key team members individually to make sure they clearly understand assignments and deadlines and that they have the opportunity to describe issues that could cause problems or delays.
- Build trust by maintaining transparency. Share important information about your organization as often as possible. Keeping your employees updated helps keep their stress levels down in uncertain times.
2) Equip your work from home team to be productive
To succeed in a fully remote environment, your team members need to be equipped with the right tech tools and the right work habits.
- Make sure team members have the equipment they need. Check in with them regularly to make sure everything is working well.
- Ask them where they’re working within their home and coach them to find a location where they can focus without being interrupted…even if it means hanging a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their door.
3) Stick to a regular work schedule
To be productive, your team members need to be on the same or similar schedules. You need to know that you can call on them during the workday and they’ll be available.
- Requiring a morning video check-in can ensure that everyone is at their desk and ready to work just as they would be if they had to report to the office.
- To stay focused and mentally healthy, remind them that they should take a lunch break, and get up and stretch every hour.
- To avoid burnout, respect those lunch breaks as well as a set time when work should end, when employees would normally leave the office.
4) Keep track of remote worker hours as if they were in the office
To keep your team on track and on schedule, you need to keep track of their hours and the way they are spending them.
- To simplify the process of time-tracking, consider a digital time tracking solution. With ExakTime’s time-clock app, workers can track their hours and activities on their own devices. You can then log into our cloud-based software at any point and review clock-ins and clock-outs, total hours for the week so far, and time spent on any of the specific tasks that you can custom-set.
5) Be human
When your team is completely dependent on technology, and rarely meets in person, adding a human touch to your communication is more important than ever.
- You can make employees feel that they’re valued by sharing information about yourself and asking about them. Make it a habit to ask any silly question that will give them a chance to share a bit about themselves and their experiences while working from home. This helps to build connections and camaraderie, even when you are working apart from one another.
- In addition to business meetings, pick occasional times when your team can meet casually online. At ExakTime, we like to have cloud-based “Happy Hours” where teams gather in a virtual room to talk about anything but work. Zoom is a service many people are using for cloud gatherings since it’s free.
Even when your team is 100% remote, you can ensure they’re productive and satisfied employees. With communication, consistency, and continuity, you and your team can remain at the top of your game.