A regular work day, 7:45 am and a text on Whatsapp.
‘My dog is sick! Is it ok if I could work from home today?’
And you would have said yes or no depending on many factors that you would have needed to evaluate your decision - including policies, past employee records etc.
What was earlier seen as a convenience or a flexible benefit in organisations has now become the norm. Remote workforce management has not really been everyone’s cup of tea owing to a lot of factors - nature of work, issues in tracking productivity, lack of belief in the system, so on and so forth. There could be multiple reasons but now they have all disappeared as organisations do not have much choice when they have to place the safety of their employees before anything else.
If your organisation did not have a work from home policy, maybe it’s not too late to make one. But while you do that, you can still ensure that this period of managing remote teams is equally engaging and productive, both for the company and its employees.
How can you manage remote teams?
Communication and Collaboraton are key to help your employees, especially during this emotional roller coaster ride. All HR folks should be able to help managers deal with this crisis effectively. Its imperative for your employees to feel connected without which employees tend to drift apart and lose motivation. And it is equally important to consistently collaborate and stay in touch with the rest of the team
Establish a connection
While out of sight means out of mind, do not let it happen. Continue to be in touch with your friends from work, your team mates and colleagues. Do not hesitate to reach out to your employees. Build a culture where you communicate more than you would have otherwise done. Encourage calls and frequent meetups to ensure your employees stay in touch with each other.
Equip your employees
Ensure that your employees have enough arsenal of resources to help them perform to the best of their ability in a remote environment. Do they have the right technology, the right devices? Do they know how to use technology? Virtual communication may not be easy but with some practice and training, it can be mastered. Use HR tech to manage your remote workforce. Automated payroll processes, inbuilt leave and attendance management systems, employee self service and lot more features can liberate and empower your remote workforce.
Keep an eye out for signs of stress
Continue to check on the well being of your employees. Try to bond with them. Have direct conversations as well as indirectly observe your employees. Help managers have sensitive conversations with their remote workforce especially during times of crisis. Have conversations outside of work. A chat about pets at home or children, a few jokes here and there can lighten the mood.
Involve your team members
Well-defined processes and policies can help employees feel connected by clearly listing down ownership and responsibility areas. Not all employees are forthcoming. Managers should take extra effort to pull in employees who feel left out. Create a conducive environment for your remote employees to talk about their fears and inhibitions.
Trust your employees
This can make a lot of difference. Setting aside your disbelief and placing your trust in your employees is the single most important thing that should be done now. Micro-managing can prove to be draining for both the manager and the remote team. It will be best to set aside perceptions when managing a remote workforce and deal with what’s in front of you.
Be available and responsive
Frequent and timely communication can ensure that employees do not feel that remote working is not working for them. Immediate response can help employees feel that they continue to work in the same room. Lag in communication can discourage committed employees and it won’t be long before they start looking for greener pastures.
Clarify objectives and company goals
Knowing what the organisation has set out to achieve can align your remote workforce to also march ahead in the same direction. Help employees focus on clear cut goals. Once they see their efforts contributing to business goals, the motivation to do more for the organisation also increases. Feeling important in an organisation leads to the feeling of job security and satisfaction thereby driving your remote workforce to achieve higher goals.
Make outcomes matter more than processes
In a remote work environment, your employees have to handle more than what you can see. Commitments at home - with family, with children - everybody has a different situation to deal with. Manage your remote workforce in a way where they can work in a way best suited to them and their environment. A little leeway in following processes with more focus on what things got done can go a long way when managing remote teams.
Reward and Recognise
There is an increased need to be appreciated, recognised and rewarded especially when managing a remote workforce. Recognition not only motivates an employee but also send clear signals to other employees about the expectations of the organisation. Recognising employees in a remote work environment may not be as visible as doing so in a physical office environment. HR tech tools offer modules where communication happens on an open and connected platform and can be seen as the perfect place for recognising and rewarding your employees with complete visibility too.
Remote work is now the new norm. A lot of companies who were anti-remote work have seen and experienced this first hand and have chosen to do away with their physical office spaces as this is working for them. Communication, collaboration and a few smart tools is all that you need to make remote workforce management easy. greytHR has the perfect HR business tools that can suit your needs.