On June 24, the state of North Carolina decided to extend its stay-at-home order until August 7, pushing businesses to continue powering their operations via a remote workforce. The good news is that North Carolina ranks ninth among the best states for working remotely. This goes to show that employees in the Tar Heel State have acclimated to remote working. And even as restrictions are eased across the state, work from home (WFH) arrangements will continue as part and parcel of every business operation.
What are some remote workforce management best practices that you can implement?
Managing remote workers poses a different set of challenges to business leaders, including communication barriers and technology limitations. Manage your team more effectively by following these strategies.
1. Have clear goals and objectives
Ambiguously phrased statements can result in misunderstandings. To do a task “well,” for instance, can mean different things to different people. This is why remote working guidelines are crucial in WFH setups: they are benchmarks for employees’ responsibilities, expectations, and sanctions (if applicable).
Your remote work policy should align with company goals and values, and every clause should have the vote of all parties involved. By having everyone’s approval, you can hold your staff accountable for their actions even if you’re supervising them remotely.
2. Set limits and boundaries
Although you need to monitor your team’s progress, it’s essential to draw the line between guiding your staff and micromanaging them. You don’t need a daily one-on-one meeting with each of your remote employees. Even coaching shouldn’t be done more than once a week. So instead of disrupting your team’s momentum by constantly asking them for updates on tasks and projects, take a step back and trust that they can deliver satisfactory results.
“Working from home” doesn’t mean “available anytime.”
On top of this, remember that “working from home” doesn’t mean “available anytime.” Avoid asking your staff to do work outside office hours. And if you’re going to call meetings, schedule them ahead of time and invite only those who need to attend. By setting boundaries, you don’t stand in the way of your team members achieving work-life balance.
3. Focus on output, not hours
At the office, everyone is expected to sit at their desks poring over some tasks from nine to five. But in a work from home set up, personal tasks may need to be prioritized over professional ones. Your staff might need to go to the bank in the middle of their shift or look after their child for several hours.
Instead of clocked hours, outputs are a better measure of a remote worker’s productivity. As long as your team members adequately fulfill their roles, there’s no need to be stringent about work hours and break times.
4. Communicate deliberately
Working in isolation can heighten loneliness and lower productivity, so make it a point to talk to your team members not only about their workload but also about their personal lives. Schedule weekly video meetings to check in on each other, and encourage your team members to share their hobbies, interests, or techniques in surmounting WFH challenges. You can even play games on Zoom. Deliberate efforts to gel the team together not only uplift spirits but also keep everyone on the same page.
5. Equip your team with reliable IT tools
Good managers are always on the lookout for improvements in processes or resources. To ensure that your team members can achieve optimum productivity and collaborate effectively, equip them with reliable IT tools. Replace old devices if they’re causing bottlenecks or data loss, or increase your staff’s internet bandwidth to make sure that video calls won’t lag.
Keeping resources secure and backed up should also be a priority. Empower your workers with tools that are impervious to cyberattacks and can withstand threats to business continuity like natural disasters. This way, they can keep being productive without worrying about IT.
Managing remote teams can be quite daunting, but SpectrumWise has your back. We offer a wide range of IT solutions and management support services that guarantee efficient monitoring, maximum uptime, and enhanced productivity. If your business is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, schedule a FREE consultation by calling us at 704-703-9990. You can also leave us a message.