Despite the many benefits remote employees bring to a business, they can also bring about many challenges to traditional managerial methods. No longer is it possible to greet employees in person or see to it that they’re doing their work.
Supervising remote employees requires a new approach—one that is only possible through technology. But in order to understand how technology can best serve you in managing your employees, it’s important to know where you’re falling short. Here are five of the most common mistakes managers are making right now.
Forgetting About an Employee’s Role
Without the ability to see every employee in front of you, it’s hard to account for how each individual impacts your team. In addition, in a remote setting, communication outside of mandatory meetings is often left to a standstill.
This makes it easy for employees to become disengaged, both in the work that they do and in their relationships with others. To prevent this, try to hold regular meetings with your remote workers using whatever communication system your company typically employs for client meetings or consider overhauling your communication strategy by integrating affordable, internet-based tools like VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
Whether calls consist of conversations relating to their involvement on a project or if they serve as a brief call to shoot the breeze and establish greater comradery between teams, these types of check-ins can help your workers feel like they’re a part of something larger.
Giving an Employee Too Much or Too Little Work
When workers are remote, it’s difficult to know if they are able to handle the work they’re being assigned, or if they have room in their schedules for more. Maximizing the productivity of your remote workforce while distributing an achievable workload starts with consistent communication.
This accentuates the need to set up some form of regular meetings with teams or individuals, during which time teams can report on the status of projects and more or less work can be assigned accordingly. Managers should also note when parts of projects can be automated.
Although it’s no one-size-fits-all solution, tools like robotic process automation (RPA) can be programmed to work with just about any existing software your company is already using and automate tasks that don’t require a lot of variation. While it may require a few additional steps, taking measures to align your team will help make sure they’re able to function at full capacity, no matter where they are.
Not Using Webcams
Employees like to be recognized, not just for their accomplishments, but also as individuals. When meetings are limited to conference calls, it’s difficult to read expressions and emotions that we would normally pick up on if the meeting had been in person.
Although remote workers might think their working arrangement sounds like a great opportunity to work from the comfort of their beds, this lack of face-time among colleagues results in a loss of teamwide engagement and familiarity—potentially impacting the quality of their work and extent of communication.
For example, Nerds Support uses secure web conferencing to communicate with all of its team members. By insisting teams use webcams, you are not only helping to reduce the chances of this, but also making sure they are just as presentable and work-ready as they would be in the office.
Not Nurturing Their Professional Development
Just because workers are working comfortably remotely, doesn’t mean they don’t share the same aspirations as your other workers. In fact, 75 percent of remote workers say they need more work-related training to further their professional growth.
The good news? Most of the training remote workers need can be done online. Many video conferencing applications grant mentors and remote workers valuable face-to-face time as well as the ability to share screens that can make instructional meetings easier to follow along.
When “off of the air,” remote employees can continue working via any cloud-based applications. Their work can later be reviewed, shared, or presented from any location. When technologies like these are used conjointly, the result is a happy remote workforce that has a greater potential to remain at your company while climbing the corporate ladder.
Not Seeing Them as Human
Remote employees are living, breathing, and hardworking individuals who happen to be located somewhere else. What this means is that attention to their thoughts and feelings should not be ignored.
Forgetting to invite them to important meetings or let their voices be heard is no different than it would be in any other setting. However, since emotions aren’t as easily felt over the phone or during video conferences, managers need to make more of a conscious effort to ensure every individual is given a chance to speak or provide input.
Even a brief pause every now and then to ask a group if they have any questions or matters they’d like to discuss can be the difference remote workers need to be and feel impactful.