15 Aug A Guide to Managing Effectively When Working Remotely
In previous blogs, we have listed remote working as one of the most important ways to move your business forward (see How to Attract Talent to Your Vacancy). When effective, remote working can result in happier, more productive employees, a wider talent pool and lower business costs. But how do you manage staff from miles, perhaps even thousands of miles away? Here are our top tips for creating an effective remote working environment:
“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
When your entire team work in the same office, communication is face-to-face, it’s easier and occurs more frequently. Understandably, communication becomes the main challenge when working remotely. Fortunately, however, there are many technologies available to aid communication over long distances. As a manager, you must use them to:
Now that you can’t merely pop your head around somebody’s office door, it’s important to schedule regular communication opportunities to update everyone on what they need to know in order to work effectively and collaboratively.
Consider time zones
Don’t forget to build a considerate communication schedule that takes the time zones of remote workers into account.
Build a Culture
With a breakdown in communication comes a breakdown in culture. Make sure this does not happen to your organisation by encouraging friendly conversations at the beginning of meetings, organising remote team-building activities like quizzes and ensuring an open door policy is clearly communicated to all employees.
As part of onboarding any new employees, be sure to equip them with both the hardware to communicate effectively with the rest of the team, such as laptop, screens, mouse, webcam and headset; but also an understanding of who to contact and when and what is expected in terms of working hours and targets.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs
When control over communication and monitoring workflow is relaxed, the natural reaction is to tighten your grip and begin to micro-manage. This, however, would be a mistake as it goes against the flexible nature of remote working and the autonomy it provides. Trust the talent that you hired and instead of issuing restricting instructions, set SMART goals and schedule regular progress updates.