Remote work is now more common than ever. As a leader of an organization, you need to manage new remote employees with a unique skillset and approach. Managing remote employees is very different from managing employees you see in an office daily.
Remote work is something that can be a benefit to both employees, as well as the employer. At the same time, though, these benefits can also bring forth new challenges. For leaders or managers specifically, it comes down to going through the varying roadblocks ahead, and managing your remote employees so they can succeed, and you can succeed along with them.
Clear the Air with Expectations
The first step you need to take when you are managing remote employees is to set clear expectations. These expectations need setting right at the start between you as the leader or manager and your employees. You want your employees to know what you expect, and vice versa they should know what to expect out of you.
If you are the type who intends to check in frequently, let them know so they can prepare for that. The same goes for thing such as tracking time spent, communication handling, etc. When you and your employee are in sync when it comes to expectations the road to success is that much easier.
Define the New Normal
You want to work to define what the new normal is between you and your remote employees. This is a new arrangement for both of you, even if you have managed remote employees in the past. One of the most important things you can do is to begin to document out what your communication strategy will be between each other. In addition, remote employees expect to have some flexibility on when, where and how they work.
For example, if you are also working remotely as the company founder you may find sleeping in gives you the energy to be your most productive self. Give remote employees that same flexibility while still requiring them to keep regular hours for part of the day. This way you know you can get in touch with them if need be.
Build a Great Relationship With Each Team Member
As a manager or leader in an organization, you will likely have more than one employee reporting to you at any given time. The thing to remember is that each of your employees is very different. they are all unique and it is important to get to know them. When you are in an office, it is easy to have a coffee talk and go over hobbies, interests, career aspirations, and more. When you are remote, this is more difficult.
As a leader, you want to take the time to spend talking to your employees about things outside of work. See how their work and life balance is going, what is new with their family, appointments they have coming up, and so on. While these conversations may not seem critical in the moment, they can go a long way to building a comfortable relationship for the future.
March Towards Short and Long-Term Goals
Objectives are a big part of the success puzzle for remote employees. Remote employees need to feel connected, but also feel as though they can do something every single day that brings them closer to a longer-term objective.
You want to work with your remote employees to help to establish their objectives. When you do this, work through what they can accomplish in the short-term, as well as the long-term. Once the objectives are set you can better be in a position to plan, due, check, and act on them to revise along the way.
Embrace the Zero Commute
It is a great thing not to have to commute. As a leader with remote employees, embrace the fact that you do not need to drive one hour to get to work. You get to enjoy a great night of sleep in your bed, get up, exercise, make breakfast, and start the day fresh and ready to go. Embrace this and set yourself, and your employees up, for a great day ahead. Bring a positive attitude and your remote employees will feed off of that positivity in a big way.
Managing remote employees can be a challenge, but it can also be a real treat. When you get to know folks and you have the flexibility to interact with them, from the comfort of your home office, it can be a great thing. Practice some of these tips and in the end, you may find remote employees are more effective and successful than even those in the physical office daily.