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How to manage remote employees effectively

09 October 2020
How to manage remote employees effectively

What are remote employees?

Remote employees are employees of a business that carry out work outside of the company’s physical office. There are different levels of remote employee. From those working one day a week away from home to fully remote employees who rarely visit a physical office space.

With the recent global events, many businesses have found themselves adopting a model of remote working a lot quicker than initially planned. For some, this is only for specific teams on particular days, to enable a staggered approach in returning to the office. For others though, they have seen their whole business shift to a remote working model, indefinitely and for the foreseeable future.

Common challenges of remote working

Distractions at home

Employers and employees have done a great job adapting to the sudden shift to remote working. However, many employees don’t have a dedicated working environment in their home, meaning rapid improvisation on their part.

With that, it can sometimes be challenging for employees to remain 100% focused during working hours. Workspaces aren’t ergonomically optimised. Distractions that otherwise would have been left at home have found themselves a place in your working environment and, of course, unexpected parental duties.

Social isolation

The idea of remote working, for employees, sounds great. However, one of the most common complaints to arise from employees is a lack of social interaction. Losing the ability to casually chat with colleagues can lead to a very rigid and monotonous workday.

Over a long period, if left, this can lead to employees feeling less motivated at work and losing a sense of belonging at a company. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in employee satisfaction and retention.

Excessive or lack of supervision

For some employers and managers, the idea of employees working from home creates assumptions that they are not working as hard or as efficiently. In actual fact, research shows employees are more active throughout the day and into the evening.

How managers can support remote employees

Offering a level of flexibility in working hours

Employers should now understand, that with the shift to remote working, an employee’s personal and professional life have blurred slightly. If possible and if in no way detrimental to their work, employers should consider allowing employees some flexibility in their working hours.

Regular check-ins and group calls

It is important, as an employer or manager, to establish a daily or weekly call with your team. This helps everybody understand what each person is doing and also encourages employees to be accountable for their work.

It may also help setting up monthly team calls, with no real agenda and no plan to talk about work-related matters. This can go some way in recreating office ‘water cooler’ conversations and help motivate people.

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