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What To Remember When Managing Remote Employees?

by Louise W. Rice

Running a business during the pandemic became a whole lot harder, with closures and lockdown restrictions taking over everyone’s lives. Lots of businesses struggled to survive, with many turning to government schemes for support or third-party finance like an instant business loan. Although there were many struggles during the pandemic, there were some learning curves for lots of businesses.

One of the major ones was that a lot of work could be done remotely, and in fact, productivity went up. With the return to the office looming when restrictions were lifted, many businesses chose to stay remote only or a hybrid approach combining home and office working.

So, if you’ve still got employees working remotely, keep reading and find out what you need to remember when managing them.

We’re All Human

One of the most important things to remember is that we’re all human at the end of the day, so don’t expect your employees to work like robots. Everyone has off-days where they find it hard to get into the swing of things, but this doesn’t mean working from home is less productive. These sorts of days still arise even when in the office, so it’s something that needs to be understood.

Each workday will look slightly different in terms of productivity. You shouldn’t expect it to look the same all the time, instead, think of it as a rollercoaster. There will be ups and downs, even within the same day. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t working their hardest. Some days you just wake up with an extra pep in your step and other days, you can wake up feeling like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. So, always remember to treat your employees as real humans, and not just a number across the screen.

Meetings Should Be Regular, But Not Too Often

Virtual meetings are fantastic, and they can be a great way of connecting while working remotely. However, too many of them can be extremely draining and cause employees to feel demotivated. Try to hold them when necessary, but also try to keep them to the point, and don’t let them drag on for hours.

In-person meetings can feel a lot less boring than virtual ones, as sitting in front of a screen for hours on end can become extremely tedious. Reducing the number of meetings you have and cutting down the length will not only give your employees more of their time back, but they’ll feel much more motivated in the long run.

Don’t Forget To Check In

While it may seem obvious, don’t forget to check in with your employees and ask how they’re really doing. It doesn’t have to be an “official” chat or 1-2-1 meeting either. Instead, you can have a casual conversation that allows your employee to feel relaxed enough to open up. You want them to feel as though they can come to you no matter what issues they’re facing, so try not to make it seem like an intimidating call.

Make these a regular thing or at least let them know the door’s always open (in a virtual sense) in case they need someone to talk to. You’ll hopefully be able to help them resolve or at least lend an ear to their problems and enable them to feel like they can work through them.

Still Praise Them

While your employees may be remote, and out of sight, out of mind, you still need to find the time to praise them. Letting them know when they do a good job can really boost their morale and help them to feel appreciated. It also shows that you see how hard they work, and this can encourage them to keep it up. If someone works hard and they don’t get any recognition for it, they’re much more likely to not do it again.

Try holding a weekly draw where you all nominate people who have done something good this week. A random name picker could then choose a winner who receives a small prize. It could even be something like letting them finish half an hour early on a Friday. These little acts of praise can mean a lot when working remotely, so don’t overlook them.

Make Sure Expectations Are Clear

When working remotely, it can be easy to let expectations fall by the wayside as you try to stay on top of everything else. However, giving your employees clear expectations or even targets can really help them to stay on track. It might be easier for them to know how much work they’ve got through if you give them something to actually work towards too. You don’t want to set your expectations any higher than you would if they were in the office but make them known and make them achievable.

Show You Trust Them

The final thing that you need to remember, and it’s one of the most important, is to trust them. You would 100% trust your employees to get on with their work in the office, so you should hold the same contempt while they work remotely. You don’t need to check up on them every 5 minutes to ensure that they’re doing what they should be. Your employees will work exactly the same, if not harder, while at home as they can relax and not worry about office distractions. Don’t let your employees feel as though they aren’t trusted, as they’ll soon get tired of it and leave for another company that does.

Working remotely has saved businesses a lot of money when it comes to renting offices, and it’s saved employees money on travel. It can be a hard transition to make from a managerial point of view, but these tips show you just how easy it can be. So, if you’re employees are working remotely, try implementing some of these work hacks, and you’ll soon see the difference they can make.

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