If all or some of the workers you’ve hired work remotely, it is essential your remote management abilities are effective. This very well could secure the growth and success of your company. Let’s face it, the remote workforce has become commonplace. American Express, Apple, Coca Cola, and Humana all have remote, teleworking opportunities, and you should too.
It is likely you will uncover remote workers for nearly every position and department, from marketing to accounting. What is behind this remote shift? This teleworking preference could be attributed to Millennials entering the workforce.
Did you know that 85 percent of Millennials want to be 100 percent remote when it comes to work?
This certainly emphasizes the need for remote opportunities for your company. However, a balance needs to be struck between the needs of future workers, and the productivity of the company.
It may not even be as challenging as you think. In fact, up to 91 percent of remote workers say they are more productive while out of office, according to a TINYpulse survey.
Giving workers the opportunity to work remotely may also assist in increasing those retention rates. According to a 2017 report on Millennials by Deloitte, “Forty-four percent of Millennials say, if given the choice, they would like to leave their current employers in the next two years.”
To get the brightest Millennials to stick around longer, you need to accommodate them. “A perceived lack of leadership-skill development and feelings of being overlooked are compounded by larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility, and a conflict of values,” the Deloitte report added.
It simply all comes down to management. To keep remote workers engaged, productive, and professionally and personally satisfied, you need to be a powerful remote workforce manager.
The following top tips for effective remote management will guide you in nurturing remote workers while increasing your company’s growth and success.
Provide Clear Expectations
The success of a remote workforce often depends on the clear expectations you provide. Just like in-house workers, the efficiency and effectiveness of remote workers depends on your very own management abilities.
The nature of remote work may appear less structured, but with expectations in place, productivity will be at the forefront.
Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight told Harvard Business Review that this means “establishing clear lines of accountability from the outset of the working relationship by setting monthly, quarterly, and yearly performance goals as well as targets for what ‘hitting it out of the park’ would mean.”
Expectations you can provide include:
- Weekly work commitment combined with monthly and quarterly goals.
- Weekly tasks that take precedence.
- Emphasize project ownership.
- Having company structure available for remote workers to problem solve.
- Making upper management accessible for support.
- Provide contact info, such as emails, phone numbers, Slack or Skype accounts, etc.
Provide expectations during the onboarding of a new remote worker. It is also essential to ensure the conversation is continuous to keep remote workers engaged and productive.
Make Performance Management a Priority
Making key performance management tweaks for in-office workers is always a priority. However, doing the same for remote workers could be an effective performance management strategy.
Losing track of remote workers’ progress is certainly easy to do. They are often out of sight and out of mind, and this lack of attention may cause productivity concerns for them and the company.
“Working remotely can make some people lose their focus and motivation,” Brian Honigman of Entrepreneur said. “And for business owners, it can be difficult to track a worker’s progress and accomplishments when the person is working outside the office.”
Remote workers need to be recognized as part of the company as a whole, and know that they are a needed asset. Make an effort to encourage them when the moment arises. This could be as simple as a comment on an achievement, or reaching out via the company chat system to ask how things are going.
Here are a few ways you can make performance management a priority:
- Weekly Feedback. Feedback is essential for any productive worker, and it is even more important for a remote workforce. Providing weekly feedback can be the perfect moment to motivate, offer up insight, be more transparent about company goals, and a time to brainstorm new ideas on the digital whiteboard. Fridays are often the best time for weekly feedback.
- Daily Touch Points. This is a sure fire way to ensure remote workers feel like part of the whole regardless of location. These touch points let remote workers know they have support. It is also an opportunity for you to field any questions they may have. Monday is the perfect day to make the digital rounds.
- Quarterly Reviews. Performance reviews are commonplace in-office, but don’t ignore them when it comes to remote management. One of the best ways to motivate and encourage powerful productivity is through quarterly performance reviews. It is a chance to discuss what is working well, what needs improvement, and explore new opportunities for workers and your company.
- Teleconferences. Do you have weekly or monthly in-office meetings? You most likely do, and the same business ritual should be applied to your remote management strategy. Having the remote workers together in a teleconference call is easier than ever with Skype or WebEx. It is a great moment to flesh out new ideas on the virtual whiteboard, and also discuss current projects. Pick a day of the week and bring remote workers together.
Make Remote Management More Transparent
When it comes to effective remote management, being as transparent as possible is paramount. It streamlines remote workflow and greatly improves the speed, accuracy, and decision making of remote workers.
Transparency may be an essential aspect for your in-office management strategy, but don’t forget those far from HQ. In many ways, remote workers need transparency more. The benefits are also two fold.
“By being transparent with my remote workers, I’m able to convey the greater mission of the company, as well as share current and future goals,” explained Sean Hopwood, CEO of Day Translations. “This empowers them to take action, sharing my passion for our company.”
If a remote workforce doesn’t feel connected, or passionate about the company and its mission, you can certainly expect lackluster productivity.
Make your remote management more transparent by implementing:
- Company State of the Unions. Holding monthly “State of the Union” teleconferences with remote workers allows you to convey your passion. You can discuss future short and long-term goals, cover project updates, recent changes, and welcome new remote workers, among other essentials. You can even invite in-office workers to join as well.
- Become a Better Mentor. Remote management is not solely about being a manager. It is in many ways about becoming a better mentor. By turning conversations into mentoring moments, you are giving all workers access to the same information. This will improve efficiency and productivity down the road. Workers will see questions asked by others, comments made, answers, and learn more about expertise through transparent dialogue.
For instance, if a worker reaches out about an issue, or asks an important question, you can make it a valuable mentoring moment for all. You can even incorporate those mentoring moments into success stories in your monthly “State of the Union” meetings.
Streamline Workflow for Remote Workers
There is certainly no shortage of ways to streamline workflow for remote workers. The platforms available online are perfect for keeping everyone on the same page, synergized, and productive.
It is, however, important to find the right online platform for your company. You may find that utilizing a few different ones for remote management more effective.
Here are a few workflow platforms you can use:
File Sharing. Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive make file sharing simple for teleworkers. They offer ease of use, and can be accessed by all remote workers to ensure transparency is in place. You can even share videos and presentations via these file sharing platforms as well.
Project Management. To manage remote workers effectively, you need a project management platform in place. AceProject or Bitrix24 are among the top tools companies use to keep workflow at its best. You can track projects, create tasks, and collaborate with other workers in real time.
Take advantage of all tools at your disposal to make your remote management as effective as possible. These valuable online platforms allow workers to meet deadlines and open up lines of communication that enhance the quality of work.
Make the Most of Remote Talent
Having remote opportunities in place meets the needs of the current and future workforce. You may also find that by extending a candidate search beyond the local talent pool increases your company’s overall expertise.
However, it is important to remember that their productivity is a direct result of how effectively you manage them. Integrate these top tips into your management strategy and maximize your company’s productivity in-office, as well as remotely.
Stephen Seifert is an SEO manager and Digital Marketing consultant. His passion for improving business and brand visibility allows him to bring visions to life for multiple clients around the world.