Managing remote employees is all about communication.
Forty-three percent of American workers are now working remotely, according Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace study. The report, which surveyed more than 15,000 adults, also states that 51% of people would switch jobs if they were offered flex time.
In today’s remote world, employers are navigating new ground. How should remote workers (and their freedoms) be managed?
Communication…. but in the right amount
Remote workers are inundated on a daily basis with emails. It can take hours to respond to and file these messages. As a manager, consider the art of compiling information. Consider whether the information needs to be disseminated now or if it can wait. A scheduled weekly email (perhaps a Friday wrap up) can house much of the information that is not immediately necessary.
Communication… but freedom if it’s deserved
Employees work remotely because of the need for flexibility. Many times there is a reason (whether its family related or otherwise) why they are seeking remote work. A manager should understand that remote workers should be treated like professionals—if they are completing work to the desired level. This means that managers should check in, but not keep track of employees’ every move. If it takes an hour or two for an employee to reply to an email, this should be acceptable. It’s easy for a remote employee to feel vulnerable, and managers can foster a sense of security by trusting employees who are performing well.
Communication…to bond with other employees
Managers should understand that for all its benefits, working remotely can be a lonely environment. A good manager will work to connect employees and build a team atmosphere. This might be in the form of a professional development, a project where employees work together via a conferencing platform, or simply allowing time to talk about personal issues at the beginning or end of a meeting.
Communication…use the phone
A good remote manager knows how to pick up the phone. A phone conversation provides that human relationship that cannot come from email only. This conversation should center on work, but a manager should also ask about what is going on in an employee’s life outside of work.
Communication…set the tone
As a remote manager, you set the tone for weekly (or daily) email correspondence. Keep emails positive, be approachable to workers, and watch out for too much information. Consider using humor such as business cartoons or images. Share a bit of your life with your team such as what you did over the weekend, etc. Be professional, but approachable.
Artemis Consultants cares about the relationships between employees and managers. Our professional recruiters have a lot of experience helping Software, Technology, Data and B2B Services companies identify valuable talent —whether it is a remote or on-site job. Please visit Artemis Consultants for more information and learn how our team can be a great search partner for your organization.