Remote Work Management

remote work management

As the majority of organisations continue to operate remotely, different businesses are utilising different methods to manage the transition whilst maintaining performance levels. To help you effectively move through the change with minimal disruption, here is our advice on how to facilitate remote working that generates the right results.

Contents

Establish the Parameters and Set Expectations

One of the initial steps of implementing remote working is to communicate the parameters and expectations to your employees. Understandably, some businesses can be reluctant to allow people to work from home because of the perceived loss of control. However, research shows that in most cases, people spend more time being productive when given the opportunity to work remotely. It’s important to both trust your people and clearly establish what you expect from them in terms of hours and deliverables.

Depending on the individual circumstances, company structure and organisational culture, there are a number of ways to set parameters whilst empowering employees to work remotely. Particularly if you produce more nebulous or qualitative standards of work, the right strategy for your organisation will likely be a combination of these tools and approaches:

  • Utilising project management and time tracking applications – Project management tools such as Asana, Trello, Teamwork or Pivotal and time tracking tools such as Time Doctor and Toggle make it easier to manage, organise, assign and track time on tasks related to various projects.
  • Engaging and communicating in real-time – Enabling employees to keep in touch with their colleagues in real-time and have instant access to any updates will go a long way to creating an engaged remote team. Consider providing communication tools and scheduling regular project update meetings or one-on-one catch ups to manage progress.
  • Implementing managerial reporting or self-reporting – Depending on the size and structure of the organisation, managers can be tasked to report on and rebalance employees’ workloads as they see fit, or, if the team is smaller, people could be given the opportunity to report on their own workloads and progress, which allows for a degree of subjective analysis. Either way, reporting is best done in combination with one or more of the other strategies on this list.
  • Coaching instead of managing – Create a culture of autonomy by coaching and supporting rather than monitoring employee’s performance. Focus on long-term results and use self-monitoring and peer support to ensure short-term, shared objectives stay on track.

Provide the Necessary Tools

Although most businesses are having to react incredibly quickly, ideally, before transitioning to remote working, conduct an audit of each employee’s situation to ensure they have everything they need to work efficiently. This includes equipment, software, appropriate internet access and a suitable workspace in their home. They may need to take screens, webcams, headsets and keyboards home from the office to make it easier, so remember to log what is taken for future reference.

Likewise, you’ll need to determine which online platform will best facilitate working remotely. As we mentioned previously, consider utilising communication tools and chat applications such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Workplace by Facebook to help people keep in touch in real-time.

It’s also important to recognise that many people may have children in their homes following the closure of schools and daycare facilities, making a degree of flexibility necessary. If possible, work with the employee to identify an arrangement that will suit their needs and ensure they’re able to deliver on their deadlines.

Maintain Internal Relationships

There is no clear indication of how long COVID-19 will continue to impact businesses, which is why it’s essential to be ready if it becomes necessary to work remotely for an extended period of time. Isolation is a common side effect of working from home, so finding ways to ensure teams stay connected is key to maintaining the internal culture and keeping morale high,

Regular check-ins using video conferencing can help to preserve relationships between colleagues and management. Consider scheduling a quick wrap up teleconference at the end of each week to unite your team, or a regular morning session to kick off the day.

Another COVID-19 specific idea that has emerged, is to encourage people in the team to eat lunch together whilst on video. By making the interaction less about work it can help to address some of the social isolation issues.

Summary

Remote working will require an investment of time and patience upfront as many employees come to grips with this new reality, but, as an employer, there are things you can do to give your organisation the best opportunity to thrive during this period.

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