10 Tips to Manage Remote Workers more Effectively
Around this time two years ago, due to the COVID-19, our entire world shifted towards one of diminished social connection and full of uncertainty. Every facet of our lives changed beyond recognition, and the world is, even today, still grappling with the day-to-day challenges of this new landscape. We had national lockdowns that restricted us from moving beyond the perimeters of our home, consequently limiting our movement and forcing most of the population to adopt working from home as the new normal. All of this occurred without most of us not being set up to work from home and most managers not knowing how to manage this new situation.
The New Normal
People would work an 8 to 6 job less than a meter away from their bed whilst not moving beyond the four walls of their bedroom, the bathroom, and the kitchen. It became known as remote work or the Work from Home model. Over this past year, recent studies suggest that remote work has allowed for a monumental shift towards how productivity is perceived and questioned the purpose of the tangible office.
Companies worldwide are taking an approach of trial and error towards reintroducing workers to the office space, and the current emerging data suggest that remote working could cultivate a more conducive culture for productivity than the office environment inspired before COVID-19.
What We've Found:
According to PwC’s US Remote Work Survey from 2021 – working from home, despite initially being perceived as an unknown and unprecedented practice, has been reported as a highly successful ‘experiment’. 83% of employers state that the transition to remote work has been successful for their company compared to the 73% in the June survey conducted in 2020.
We’ve also found that despite the office serving an integral role in establishing community and team morale – less than one in five executives say they want to return to the office as it existed in pre-pandemic times.
After the survey in 2020, there was a reported increase in employees and executives alike, stating that they were more productive than before the pandemic. Productivity is up 8% in comparison to 2020. Employees who have indicated higher productivity levels are also more likely to perform outcome-oriented tasks such as taking part in new projects and serving customers.
Could This Be The Way Forward?
The data from the survey suggests that the Work From Home model does not encourage short bursts of productivity. Instead, it illustrates that through specific actions, companies can utilise this landscape to ensure their workforce maintain high levels of performance, regardless of the environment.
In addition, the employees surveyed have helped construct an outline of what managers and companies can do to ensure success and productivity in a WFH context. For example, 79% of employees have emphasised flexibility regarding family matters.
What We've Done:
Logimeter has adopted a hybrid approach, ensuring that we are up to speed with current technologies that support remote work and help establish structure and rules within a work from home environment. In addition, these tools are being put in place to optimise the workplace, as studies show that a hybrid work landscape requires an acceleration in support systems that maintain virtual collaboration and creativity whilst also promoting scheduling and safety.
60% of executives have indicated an expected increase in company budget, which will be allocated to virtual collaboration tools and manager training. Physical spaces that reinforce hybrid working models, such as hoteling apps or communal areas in offices, have been identified as investment areas for the leftover budget.
What Does Managing Your Team More Efficiently Mean?
Whilst the onslaught of the pandemic was initially a shock to everyone, it was those in governance that had to bear the brunt of the transition. The current health emergency is taking a toll on time-old managerial techniques.
Requiring managers to navigate this period of uncertainty whilst simultaneously being responsible for a team that needs to maintain the same, if not better, levels of efficiency, time management & productivity prior to the Work From Home landscape.
We, like the rest of the world, have had to adapt to the WFH model and consequently performed some research to get an indication as to how other businesses have coped with this transition. This is what we’ve found.
10 tips for managing remote workers more effectively
1. Set clear expectations
Would you like your remote workers to report back on a daily basis or is a weekly briefing better? Do you expect them to work at a dedicated station or can they work from their favourite coffee shop when the mood strikes them? Establishing these and other expectations upfront means team members know what is expected of them, without any misunderstandings.
2. Schedule regular meetings
Team meetings can involve both in-office and remote workers. They don’t have to be dull like that ‘first thing on a Monday’ debrief. Schedule live virtual events and even online team building to create unity in your teams. Remote workers have voices too, even if they come through a speaker instead of from within the boardroom. Including them into office meetings makes them feel validated for their valuable ideas and suggestions.
3. Document processes
Which online work platforms do your remote teams use to do their jobs? Are they using these as effectively as possible? You could explain these and other processes in person or document them for future reference. The latter offers other advantages, like quicker onboarding of new remote workers and a greater level of accountability among satellite teams.
4. Engage your teams often
As a manager of remote working teams, try and make some form of contact with your remote workers at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be a 10-minute video call, and it doesn’t have to be about work stuff. It goes a long way to ensuring that remote staff don’t feel left out. Regularly engaging remote workers leaves them feeling included, motivated, and valued.
5. Set a good example
Set the bar high for your remote staff by living out the standard of online work interaction you expect from them. If you want them to learn the ins and outs of a new project management system – you learn it too. If you expect them to be online by 9 am every day, you must be online by that time too. Workers that have role models aspire to be like them, so consider the impression your actions are having on your remote teams.
6. Build rapport with everyone
Regardless of how large your remote workforce is, try and build rapport with everyone. It helps you get to know them and shows that you care enough to ask about their lives outside of work. Too often virtual meetings focus solely on the business side of things. There’s hardly any small talk in online meetings – so set aside a few minutes at the beginning or end of each meeting for just that.
7. Solve issues with technology
Like workers commuting to the office each day, remote workers face their fair share of challenges. Chances are someone in your team is currently dealing with glitchy platforms, slow hardware, or other productivity-killing remote working hurdles. Consider speaking to your team about any challenges they may be facing. With more stable remote work platforms and better hardware, it should allow for an increase in productivity.
8. Schedule one-on-one chats
Think about scheduling individual meetings with your staff from time to time. These are excellent opportunities to check in and see how they’re doing. It’s easy to neglect individual relationships when most communication is done in communal chat rooms and virtual team meetings.
9. Avoid virtual micromanagement
One mistake to avoid when managing virtual teams is to immediately start micromanaging. We get how difficult it is to manage virtually when you’re a hands-on kind of leader. A different approach is required when handling remote teams since you’re not within eyeshot of one another. Leaving remote workers to get on with their jobs shows you trust them. And if there are clear deliverables in place, your staff will know what needs to be done and by when.
10. Include remote teams where possible
Are there in-office meetings, like client onboarding meets, where traditionally only in-house staff have been requested to attend?? If there’s a chance that remote workers will be working on a project, in any capacity, try and include them in meetings about it. Remote workers need to know the finer details about projects just as much as in-house staff.
Easily manage your remote workers' calls with Logimeter
Do your remote staff members make a lot of calls as part of their jobs? Ensuring ease when placing calls online makes them more efficient. The Logimeter Click to Call service includes a web extension that allows you to place a call to any telephone number you find on a Google Chrome web page. This is only one-way Logimeter is helping to make managing remote workers more effectively a reality for any manager of off-site teams.
How our Chrome extension works
A remote worker can highlight a number and request a call be placed to it. Logimeter will first call the worker’s phone and invite them to speak to the highlighted number by pressing 1.
When 1 is pressed, the highlighted number is contacted and the two parties are connected.
All calls are recorded, and the call records and recordings are made available in a Logimeter web dashboard.
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