6 Tips for Managing Remote Teams More Effectively
Information technology has allowed more and more people to work away from their offices but despite the advantages it offers, many employers finding managing their remote teams a huge challenge.
Remote working is when employees undertake some or all their duties of their employment away from the office, whether that’s at home, on the road or in a coffee shop. It allows them to enjoy a better work-life balance and to avoid a daily commute.
For employers, it can mean higher productivity, lower office overheads and the opportunity to tap into a wider pool of employee talent because you can hire individuals who don’t live within commuting distance of the office.
They’re the benefits. On the downside, it can be difficult to manage remote workers. Mike Turner, the Managing Director of You Become, says in his latest video that it’s one of the biggest challenges experienced by his clients, some of whom have half their workforce working remotely.
“It’s a real challenge to maintain that sense of team and collectiveness and effectively manage someone,” he says.
Interestingly, many employees also want managers to learn to manage their remote teams. A survey conducted by PowWowNow found that 56% of people believe managers need to adapt their skills to manage a remote workforce.
Many felt isolated and excluded from basic workplace communications.
So how can you better manage your teleworkers? The following tips are designed to help you improve communication with your remote teams.
- Check in frequently
Don’t leave your remote workers ‘out in the cold’. Instead, set up regular meetings with each team member. If possible, encourage regular face-to-face meetings between remote workers and their line managers, either at the office or an agreed location. Organise meetings in the office for remote workers to receive training, stay up to date with the company’s systems and network with their colleagues.
- Make it easy for your team to connect with you
Make it easy for your employees to access you (or their line manager), whether by phone, email or instant messaging.
- Clarify your workplace expectations
Set clear guidelines for your remote employees to follow. Let them know what’s expected of them in terms of regular feedback and the hours they will be available.
- Don’t micro-manage
Ask your employees about their workload and progress without micro-managing them.
- Hone your communication skills
Jack Skeen, leadership coach and co-author of ‘The Circle Blueprint’, says the qualities that employers ought to cultivate if they want to manage remote employees effectively is really good communication skills. “The first of these is being a really good listener,” he says. “One of the greatest skills for bosses to cultivate today is the ability to communicate trust and respect.”
- Give your employees the tools they need
Ensure that your employees have the right remote working tools such as instant messaging and conference calling software. They should also have access to information, such as essential files, policy documents, and internal contact directories. Your remote workers should also be given access to helplines to get support in dealing with software or equipment issues.
If you need help or would like to discuss any issue that this video series raises, please call a member of our team on 01932 888489. You Become is a leading expert in employee engagement and organisational for ambitious UK companies.
 ‘Flexible Working in 2017’, Powwownow, www.powwownow.co.uk, 2017