Talent Management • 4 min reading

Remote Work: Tips for Managers

Remote work is a practice that offers many advantages for both employees and their employers. Among its benefits, we note improved productivity and creativity, as well as high satisfaction and engagement rates. However, this option, which is offered by a growing number of companies represents a new challenge for managers. It is not easy to mobilize and motivate teams without seeing them on a daily basis, while ensuring that the job is truly done.

In this article, find 4 tips for stress-free management of your remote work employees.

#1. Think about remote work during your recruitment process

A new dimension to consider and assess when interviewing candidates is how comfortable they are with working from home. When you recruit for a position that requires frequent interactions with clients, you will obviously look for people who naturally have excellent interpersonal skills. In the same vein, if you want to hire people who work remotely, make sure they have the qualities that will allow them to excel in this type of position.

To ensure this, ask them questions about the work environments in which they have felt most fulfilled versus those that have been more problematic for them. If they have any such experience, ask them to tell you about their time as a self-employed worker or their role in teams whose members were scattered geographically. If possible, you can also ask them to complete a simple task related to their position. This will give you the chance to see how they do their job without supervision, how they seek and share information, and whether they are able to meet deadlines.

Finally, pay close attention to the candidate’s values. It’s important that these be aligned with your company’s culture. This is because employees working from home typically have very rare opportunities to “absorb” your culture in person. So, from the start, make sure your codes of conduct and values coincide.

#2. Supervise with respect

One of the most common questions and fears about remote work is, “How do you know for sure that employees are actually working?” The answer is simple: you can’t know. But really, you can’t know for sure that everyone in your office is equally focused on their professional tasks either. Someone sitting in front of their screen in your 9 to 5 office can just as easily spend their time entertaining themselves on the Internet.

Any working relationship is based on mutual trust. If you need to manage people remotely, resist the urge to check up on them continuously. When you call them without warning, you may interrupt their work flow and slow them down. Even an interruption of a few minutes can negatively impact their productivity for the day. Make sure you have scheduled times where you will discuss each other’s progress and expectations. Outside of these times, ask your employees about when and how they prefer to be contacted.

#3. Schedule face-to-face time and meetings

One of the drawbacks of virtual work is that it’s difficult to spontaneously exchange ideas, advice and learnings. Creating synergy within teams is also more complex. To overcome these difficulties, it’s essential to schedule regular times when your employees can interact. The goal is not just to follow up on tasks, but to create a moment for team building and maintain your company’s vision. Meetings are also the perfect opportunity to create momentum and enhance the team’s morale. For example, you can invite each person to share a small or big success of their week. This can be a learning opportunity for everyone and a way to show your team that you value them.

When planning your calls, also consider offering the possibility to join the call via video. Seeing the faces and expressions of your employees improves communication while providing you with an opportunity to take stock of your team’s morale.

#4. Take isolation seriously

No matter what their personality, all human beings need some level of social interaction in order to be successful. For remote workers, there are no impromptu friendly chats around the coffee machine. Loneliness can become overwhelming for some employees. In addition to affecting their productivity, isolation can also affect the morale and overall health of your colleagues. Other consequences of loneliness or isolation are burnout and a desire to leave the company outright.

As a manager, you have the chance to make a difference by making sure that your communications with each member of your team are as warm as possible. Beyond discussing their professional life, consider having chats about random subjects with them. It will also allow you to build more solid and lasting relationships with the people around you.

Another good practice is to build and nurture communities outside of work. Try to find a common interest among your team members. It could be going to the movies, meeting at karaoke, or getting together for some good wine once a month. Professional relationships are above all human relationships. They require trust and kindness, and they need to be nurtured.






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