Widespread working from home throughout 2020 was commonplace and one of the biggest behavioural changes that we saw last year. The governments call to make home working essential caused most firms to swiftly accelerate their need for a remote workforce strategy.
The worlds new way of working has resulted with gains in productivity, employee satisfaction, new workplace cultures as well as improved technologies and plenty of companies are now planning for change to their employment patterns even once the pandemic is over.
It it is predicted that 1 in 4 UK professionals will be permanently working from home in 2021 and beyond, therefore the focus must be on continuing to manage a remote workforce whilst keeping both your people and performance a top priority.
For those Managers without the experience of overseeing a remote workforce, last year’s necessity to do so may have felt daunting and just a little stressful. A year on and you have no doubt found your feet as well as best working practices and processes to help you succeed. This guide is designed for those still keen to better understand this topic or for those who are seeking some assurances that they are getting it right.
People – How well you understand the individual personalities and circumstances of your team will hugely impact your abilities and achievements when managing a remote workforce. Not everyone will be finding it easy, some will need a little extra support and most will welcome confidential and honest discussions to better understand and address how it is you can help them to succeed.
Flexibility – It is best to consider flexible working arrangements for those with commitments such as childcare responsibilities or a preference to their daily routine. Trusting your people to deliver on their daily workload and meet deadlines, despite a change in working pattern is key for your remote employees engagement and overall productivity and performance.
Tools – It’s your responsibility to ensure each member of the team has the right tools in place to do their job from home. Not everyone has high speed internet and modern equipment such as laptops, telephones and printers so be prepared to support them with the right resources to help them thrive.
Communication – Don’t allow for loneliness to creep in, keep communication open and encourage your team’s interaction with one another. Be it on Google hang out, Microsoft Teams, email and telephone, it’s vital for everyone to stay well connected in order for them to continue to be happy, fulfilled and self-motivated whilst working remotely.
Daily Check In – As you would in the office, don’t neglect to monitor and manage your teams morale and performance every day, with the content and frequency of your daily check in’s entirely dependent on each individuals circumstances and capabilities. For some it will be a quick catch up to show you are present and care, others may need more regular support and guidance to feel valued and be successful.
Technology – A big smile goes along way! Keep close to the operation by using technology to interact with your team face to face, as phone conversations and email only go so far. Your team will really benefit from seeing you and more importantly your smile… there is really no excuse not to with all the technology we now have access to.
Expectations – Manage your team by openly creating and setting realistic expectations for them. Define their scope and agree achievable deadlines and deliverables, sharing your expectations of them honestly as well as how it is that you will be supporting and measuring their success.
Activity – Don’t be tempted to micromanage a team members activity unless it absolutely necessary as this will almost always lower morale as well as your employees engagement. Truly knowing a remote team’s daily activity is rarely achievable so instead focus yourself on their outcomes, monitoring and mentoring your team members accordingly.
Kindness – A true leader focuses on being kind for the sake of being kind, not for what they get back in return. Remember how challenging remote working can sometimes be for us all and work on boosting your teams wellbeing as well as your company ethos with kindness.
We hope you have found this guide useful and welcome your comments and calls, we’d love to hear how you have implemented the above as well as all your other ideas and inspiration.
Equally please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are wanting to recruit new members to your workforce, we would be delighted to be given the opportunity of working with you.