In today’s global economy there are skilled people around the world that can help you build your company. With the competitiveness in hiring talented people in tech epicenters, it becomes all the more enticing to hire people in other cities, states and countries to join your team. Adding these remote employees to your team present unique challenges to management that you may be overlooking. Improving them will improve morale, productivity, and team cohesion.
India has currently opened up to the idea of remote working especially with the concept of startup growing in leaps and bounds. Increasingly, employers are realizing and admitting that there is a whole satellite workforce out there that is operating outside of the traditional office spaces. They are people who quit traditional jobs in favour of being entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants. Some of them lost out during the recession, and decided to stay out of the workforce because that’s where the work and play is.
While remote working is on the rise, one of the biggest concerns for employers is how to manage a geographically dispersed team. In most cases there exists a misconception that managing remote employees demands a completely different skillset. Experts opine that in most cases employers tend to perceive geographically dispersed team in a completely different way than traditional teams. But one should not treat them in a different way. Employers must understand that they are after all employees and working in an organization to get stuff done. So, they should be treated such. Only thing, managers might have to put a little bit of an extra effort in order to be able to manage remote employees well. But how does one do it?
Here’s a look-
#1. Outline expectation clearly
The first tip towards managing a remote team/employees is to set your expectations as a manager very clearly. Set expectations clearly and make sure that they are measurable by both – team members as well as managers.
#2. Manage difficulties in disconnecting
Remote team members can easily feel the disconnect if they are not engaged properly. Therefore, its essential for a manager to ensure that his or her remote team remains engaged thoroughly. Encourage them to maintain a schedule that not only promotes accountability but also provides regularly scheduled breaks. Practice and preach self-control. Putting time in around the clock isn’t going to lead to productive work hours for you or your team.
#3. Indulge in increased interactions
As a manger of a geographically dispersed team you have to ensure that you interact with team members on a daily basis. The more you interact, the easier it will be for you to embrace them and work more cohesively with your remote team. Daily interaction over any kind of channels will make your team members also feel wanted and recognized. This in turn will lead to more productivity.
#4. Use the best communication tools
Communicating clearly is the best way to manage a remote team. Do remember to keep your communications clear and make use of all kinds of communication tools available. Embrace new ways of communicating technology so that you can be in touch with your remote employees easily. Video conferencing can be one of the best ways to stay in touch with your remote employees. Remember to communicate cross-functionally across teams and also encourage remote workers to do the same. Also have employees send regular updates including successes and challenges.
#5. Have faith in your remote employees
Since remote employees work from a completely different location, they tend to be independent most of time. Constantly keeping an eye is not a possible task and as an employer, you must develop the factor of trust. Work towards developing such a trust factor that encourages employee motivation and ensure that are able to give their very best.
#6. Provide a 360-degree feedback
As an employer, you must provide regular feedback to your remote employees. Ensure that you exercise this activity on a regular basis and provide constructive 360-degree feedback for their work and if possible ensure that the feedback is implemented.
#7. Be proactive in whatever you do
Understand that managing a geographically dispersed team or remote employees is not an easy task. As an employer you have to be pretty proactive in whatever you do. Whether it is assigning work or communicating or providing feedback, all needs to be done on a proactive basis by you.
While it is important for managers to reach out to their remote employees, especially when there are issues related to productivity, it is just as critical for remote workers also to feel confident so that not only they are able to deliver their best but also feel free to approach senior management. Focus on fixing problems and offering solutions to help workers be more effective, and they will be more likely to reach out when help is needed.
By implementing the above-mentioned seven tips, employers can manage and create an environment that not only improves employee satisfaction but also increases productivity, attracts better talent and reduces costs—a win-win for workers and companies alike.