Remote workers are often cheaper for companies and managers because off-site contractors don’t require benefits or entail other tax implications. There’s also evidence that remote work increases overall productivity.
Eighty-six percent of the participants in a SurePayroll survey reported hitting “maximum productivity” when they worked from home. That translates to more bang for the buck from the company standpoint.
Other evidence suggests that remote employees tend to be happier, healthier, and more efficient than people who work in an office. That’s another reason many startups use them; it’s a great way to get the most out of their payroll.
But remote teams can admittedly be a bit of a challenge to manage, especially if you don’t have a lot of extra resources. It can be harder to get your employees to meet their deadlines, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively.
For this reason, effective supervisors of remote workers often apply a few time-tested rules for effective management. Here are five tactics you can use to keep track of your remote team.
- Use Paperless Time-Tracking Tools
If you’re not employing the time-saving, collaborative power of time-tracking tools, you’re probably not getting the most out of your remote workers. These platforms can put all remote employees on the same page, promote a stronger workforce, and circumvent mistakes.
This means embracing the tech tools you have available to you. “Getting cozy with the cloud isn’t just for the company IT department,” says Caroline Miech of the company Track Time 24, an app for work-time management.
Miech references a 2018 Global Human Capital trends report that shows about 41 percent of HR teams are trying to build mobile apps for their HR services. “For the busy HR manager working to track, compile, and analyze employee data, paperless cloud-based systems offer robust solutions to streamline and improve employee time tracking,” she says.
- Standardize Communication
It may be that one of your team members prefers phone communication even though the rest like to use email. It’s best to allow everyone to communicate via their favorite method, but if communication doesn’t occur between all the team members who are concerned, it can be all too easy for crucial steps or tasks to get overlooked.
A task management app can be an excellent tool for day-to-day collaboration, because it keeps everyone on the same page and ensures they stay aware of task statuses. For personal communication and team-wide correspondence, email is highly recommended to keep everyone in touch.
Encourage your team members to stick to just one or two forms of communication for the smoothest sailing.
- Create a Strong Company Culture
Although your team members may not be working in the same physical space, they may work closely on specific projects. Screen every employee to make sure they’re all friendly, respectful, polite, and apt to get along with everyone else on the team.
You might also spend time getting to know your individual team members and encouraging outside interaction. “Employees collaborate best when they have personal connections with each other,” Jonathan Erwin said in a Business News Daily interview.
“To maintain this connection while working remotely, small teams should have a short daily conference call to discuss hot topics and unanswered questions and use video chat for team meetings.” This is a solid method of keeping everyone in touch and catching questions and issues before they blow up into huge problems.
- Anticipate Problems
You can’t possibly prepare for every workplace problem, of course, but you can be certain that something will happen. Based on research and past leadership experiences, you might be able to anticipate certain specific issues now and then.
Your tripwires might tend to be tech malfunctions, unexpected illnesses, coworker spats, or workflow disruptions. Instead of being repeatedly surprised when such problems knock team members out of commission, have a plan prepared in advance.
Compile and circulate a rulebook or set of guidelines for team members to follow when a familiar difficulty arises. Established parameters and backup plans will enable things to run smoother in the face of a setback.
- Encourage Balance
Although remote workers are often more productive and efficient, they’re can also experience burnout. It can be difficult for a remote employee to stay focused outside of the office setting.
Although overcoming this obstacle maybe primarily a personal concern, as an employer or supervisor, you can help to facilitate the person’s recovery.
First, try not to burden team members with an unreasonable amount of work. Some will be able to accomplish more than others, and catering (reasonably) to each individual’s needs and ability can be a smart way to maintain balance.
You can also send educational articles about work-life balance and encourage your team members to take creative breaks or meditate daily. Your efforts to build a stronger balance for coworkers and their home lives will be appreciated, whether they make use of them or not.
Management faces challenges in any industry, but if you prepare with the right tools, you may be able to handle any disruption. The world of remote work may be new for your firm, but using modern tools and solid leadership tactics should see you through.