If you manage a staff, you probably have remote employees, and if you do not, you most likely will soon.

According to a survey conducted by GetApp, the number of people who work remotely at least once per week has grown by 400% since 2010, and a Gallup report shows that 45% of full-time U.S. employees work from home either all (25%) or part of the time (20%).

The Coronavirus pandemic further increased these numbers because companies needed to conduct “business as usual” while ensuring the safety of their employees and customers. A Gallup poll showed that 62% of U.S. employees were working from home in April 2020, and a report issued by The Conference Board showed that 77% of HR managers expect the number of employees working primarily from home will increase post-pandemic.

This means that your role as a manager will change. So I thought I would outline my thoughts about how you need to think differently about your job and how you can help your remote workers succeed.

  • Think About Your Role Differently: You are now responsible for outcomes, not managing people who fill chairs in an office. We have all become more flexible about the strict rules around hours employees need to be at work. Now it needs to relate to productivity. 
  • Find the Right Person For The Job: If a candidate has the right skills and is a good fit for your culture, managing them will be much easier. They will also be happier in the job, like working for you and be more likely to stay with the company.
  • Trust Employees To Do Their Jobs: Managing people who you cannot see can be challenging, but following these three steps will help: 1) Set clear expectations, 2) Hold everyone accountable for meeting deadlines and supporting team members, 3) Trust but verify, 4) Let employees take time off when needed, but make them responsible for ensuring coverage while they are gone, and that deadlines are met.
  • Know Your Employees’ Jobs: It is not enough to just tell someone to “do their job.” A good manager is familiar with the jobs employees are performing, understands what is required to get the work done, and is aware of potential hurdles and roadblocks that could cause problems or delays.
  • Know What Is Happening With Employees Working From Home: Are they caring for elderly parents? Teaching their children? Trying to attend video meetings while attempting to keep family members quiet?  Understanding the challenges they are dealing with will help you provide the support they need to be successful.
  • Stay Connected: Hold a fun virtual meeting once a month for your team so remote workers can get to know one another and discuss both work- and non-work-related topics. It is good for morale and it encourages team unity.

One of the biggest challenges of managing a remote team is having the “right people on the bus.” Pre-employment assessments and skills tests help you identify top candidates who have the knowledge and experience you need and the motivation to be successful remote workers. Schedule a demo to learn more.

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