In the age of COVID-19, moving to a remote workforce is a necessary but often challenging task. Employers are getting their staff back to the workplace, but in order to keep up with a shift in recent employee demands, many have chosen to provide remote employment as an option.
There are many benefits to operating with a remote workforce. First, it can save your company money and cut costs on office space, equipment and utilities. Second, it gives employees the freedom to work from home, which can improve work-life balance and increase productivity. According to a survey conducted by ConnectSolutions, remote workforces can increase productivity up to 77% compared to traditional workforces.
Remote workforces also allow you to tap into a larger pool of talent, as more and more workers are seeking out employers who offer telecommuting options. However, with these benefits come some challenges, such as communication, collaboration and managing work-life balance. As a result, if you manage a team, you may be wondering how you can successfully manage your employees when they are not in the office.
To help, we’ve provided 11 tips to help you make the most out of your remote workforce.
Focus on the results, not the productivity.
When your employees are in the office, it is easy to pop your head over their cubicles and see what they are working on. But when they are working from home, it is important to trust that they are getting their work done.
If you find yourself wanting to micromanage, have a conversation with your employee about your concerns. Focus on goals as opposed to how those goals are achieved. For example, rather than asking your employees to send you a daily update on their progress, set a weekly or bi-weekly meeting to discuss progress towards goals.
Ensure that your employees have the necessary tools.
If your employees are working from home, they will need the same tools that they would use in the office. This includes a laptop, printer, internet access and any other software or equipment that they need to do their job.
You should also provide them with any resources they need to be successful in their role. This could include access to a company library or database, training materials or even just a list of helpful websites.
You may also want to consider investing in a cloud-based collaboration tool, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, to ensure that all employees have access to the same files. For employees in the healthcare field or patient-facing roles, you may want to provide access to a secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging system.
Create clear communication channels.
When your employees are in the office, they can easily communicate with each other in person. But when they are working from home, it is important to create clear communication channels so that everyone is on the same page.
There are a number of ways to do this, including using a chat tool like Slack, Zoom or setting up regular video calls. Whatever method you choose, make sure that everyone knows how to use it and that there is a clear process for communication.
For example, you may want to set up a daily stand-up meeting where everyone gives a brief update on their progress. Or you may want to create a weekly team meeting to discuss projects and brainstorm ideas.
Whatever you do, make sure that everyone knows when and how to communicate with each other.
Set expectations for availability.
Just because your employees are working from home does not mean that they are available 24/7. It is important to set expectations for availability so that your employees can manage their work-life balance.
For example, you may want to set office hours during which all employees are expected to be available. You may also want to allow employees to set their own hours, as long as they are available for certain meetings or deadlines.
Whatever you decide, make sure that your employees know what is expected of them.
Encourage regular check-ins.
When your team is working remotely, it is important to encourage regular check-ins, either through video conferencing or phone calls. This will help you stay up to date on your team’s progress and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It will also allow you to address any concerns that your team may have.
Be clear and concise in your communication.
Since you are not able to see your team in person, it is important to be clear and concise in your communication. When you are sending an email or writing a memo, be sure to state the purpose of the communication in the subject line. For example, “Action Needed: Complete Timesheets by Friday.”
This will help your team know what is expected of them and will make it easier for them to find the information they need.
Make use of project management tools.
There are a variety of project management tools available that can help you keep track of your team’s progress and deadlines. Some of these tools, such as Asana and Trello, even offer features specifically for remote teams.
There are also tools specifically designed for telehealth teams such as Webex for Healthcare & Zoom for Healthcare. These tools are HIPAA compliant and offer features such as secure messaging and video conferencing to make sure that your team can communicate safely and securely.
Using a project management tool can help you stay organized and ensure that everyone on your team is aware of their tasks and deadlines.
Give regular feedback.
Giving feedback is an important part of being a manager, but it is especially important when your team is working remotely. When you regularly see your employees at the office, it can be easier to remember to check in with them. If they are working remotely, you should make it a point to give them the same amount of feedback.
One way to give feedback is to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your employees. This will give you the chance to discuss both their successes and areas for improvement. You can also use a tool like Google Forms to collect feedback from your team on a regular basis.
Open communication is key to any successful team, but it is especially important for remote teams. Encourage your team to communicate often, and make sure that everyone is aware of the channels that they can use to communicate with each other. This will help prevent miscommunication and ensure that your team is able to work together effectively.
Do not overwhelm your employees.
When you are managing a remote team, it is important to avoid overwhelming your employees with work. Make sure that you are assigning tasks based on each individual’s skills and abilities. Be sure to give your team enough time to complete their tasks, and before you assign a new task, ask them about their current workload.
Encourage breaks and time off.
Just because your team is working remotely does not mean that they should be working all the time. Their time is still valuable and should be respected. Encourage your team to take breaks throughout the day and to use their vacation days. This will help them stay refreshed and motivated.
Now more than ever, it is important to have a remote workforce strategy in place. By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you can successfully manage your remote healthcare team and ensure that your business continues to run smoothly.