How To Manage Your Employees Who Are Working From Home
Working with remote employees can be very beneficial for your business. This setup can encourage your employees to be more productive as they are less distracted because they won’t have to chat with colleagues during working hours. This also allows the company to save money from overhead costs.
Letting your employees work from home can help your business succeed, but not being able to manage them properly can also create adverse effects. Some of the most common challenges you will experience with this kind of setup are the adjustment to different time zones, the ability to collaborate, and feelings of isolation among team members. The more employees who are working from home, the more severe these problems can get.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to surpass all of these. Here are ways on how you can effectively manage your employees who are working from home:
1. Use Technology To Your Advantage
Technology can be your greatest ally when it comes to managing employees who are working from home. Regardless of the number of people you’re working with and the scope of tasks you’re going to give to them, there are now technological innovations that can help the team work with each other.
An online communication channel, such as the ones you can get from podium.com, is one of the most basic tools you can use when managing remote employees. As long as members of the team have their respective laptops and a stable Internet connection, everyone can stay on the same page and update each other with the progress of a specific project.
Online communication tools will also encourage the team to reach out to different members whenever they have concerns, fostering healthy relationships.
2. Have A Daily Check-In
As mentioned, one of the biggest challenges you will have when you start managing employees working from home is isolation. Because the team doesn’t see each other personally every day, some of them might feel as if they are not part of the team. Over time, this can become the reason why your employees will become unproductive.
Make sure that this doesn’t happen by having daily check-ins. Make use of different communication channels and spend a few minutes every day to check up on your employees. Depending on your preferences, you can send personal messages to them or schedule video calls. You can choose to check-in with your employees as a team or talk to them individually.
When conducting daily check-ins, start the conversation by asking how they are and if they have any troubles with the tasks they have at the moment. These check-ins should allow you to connect with your employees, receive feedback about your current processes, and assess if your employees require any resources to expedite their tasks.
3. Manage Expectations
How you will inform your employees about the scope of their tasks at the start of every project is vital to the success of your business. Regardless of how simple these tasks are, if your employees do not know what to expect, there’s no assurance that they can provide high-quality outputs. In worse cases, they might not even have any idea what their roles are or what they will do when they start working from home.
Make sure that these don’t happen by managing everyone’s expectations as early as possible. If managing remote employees is still a new setup for the business, schedule a meeting with all of the team members before the project starts and orient them on what they should do.
As a manager or business owner, you should define the scope of their responsibilities, deadlines of their tasks, and channels for communication. Do not forget to let your team members talk and encourage them to ask questions if any information is unclear to them.
When everyone on the team is on the same page and continues to connect as the project progresses, you’ll have better chances of attaining success. Setting everyone’s expectations at the start of the project can prevent miscommunications and delays.
4. Be Flexible
Even if you were able to hire the best talents in the industry, do not expect that they will work like robots. Keep in mind that your employees are humans and might have a lot of things on their plates that may prevent them from performing at their best.
More often than not, they might have chosen to work at home because it makes it very easy for them to manage different responsibilities at the same time. Remember that a remote employee can be a doting parent to their children and a productive employee to your business at the same time.
Another way to effectively manage your employees who are working from home is to always be flexible. As much as possible, do not require them to work for eight hours straight in a day. Instead, let them clock in whenever they want to and trust them that they can still get the job done on time. Avoid micromanaging as this can only have adverse effects on the productivity and outlook of your employees.
Allowing your employees to work from home will require a lot of changes on the part of the business, and one of these is for you to focus more on outcomes, not on the daily activities of your employees.
5. Beware Of Burnout And Implement Strategies To Prevent It
If your business is still a novice when it comes to managing employees who are working from home, you might think that the biggest struggle is employees who are slacking off. Their managers are not physically around to breathe down their necks and to remind them to work, so you would often think that your employees won’t be productive when working from home.
However, this isn’t always the case.
Since your employees can decide when and where to work, they would often work too hard to the point where they are already mentally and physically burnt out. This is especially true for employees who would want to earn more in a month. The eagerness of your employees to work and earn might be beneficial for the business, but, over time, this can also result in long-term consequences.
When your employees are burnt out, they will feel tired and drained most of the time, experience illnesses more often, and lose the motivation to work. Burnout can also cause your employees to withdraw from their responsibilities, isolate themselves from other team members, and take out their frustration on others. In worse cases, burnout can become the reason why your best employee will leave your business.
As a manager or business owner, it is your responsibility to be keen on any signs of burnout and provide intervention to manage its symptoms. You can achieve these goals by encouraging your team to establish and maintain a routine, stick to their priorities, and take long breaks. Spend some time to check on them and always motivate your team to make time for human intervention, regardless if it involves their family or other members of the team.
6. Provide Emotional And Steady Support
For employees to continue working for your business, you should not only think about giving them a competitive salary and other financial perks. You should also consider their emotional health. Since your employees won’t have any physical interactions with other members of the team, they will be more susceptible to experiencing loneliness and other negative emotions.
Fortunately, as a leader in the business, you can prevent these from happening by providing emotional support to your employees. You can do this by setting a positive ambiance for their virtual offices with an upbeat and calm presence. Your outlook and behavior online can foster a level-headed workplace that would allow your employees to have fun and remain productive at the same time.
Aside from these, you should also make yourself available to the team just in case they have questions about their tasks or if they find themselves in unfamiliar situations. You should also encourage self-care among all of your employees, especially if they are still new in a work-from-home setup.
7. Provide Career Growth Opportunity
No one would like to retire with the same job and position they had when they started working in an organization. People would apply for a job with intentions to grow personally and professionally. Your employees would want to belong to an organization that values their need to learn and grow.
Even when managing employees who are working from home, you can still provide several career growth opportunities for them. You can cover expenses for online classes or send them a copy of an eBook that allows them to learn more about the job they currently have. With the advent of technology, you can choose from different online platforms to help your employees learn and grow.
Sure, these efforts might require additional costs from your pocket, but when your employees perform better because of these career opportunities, you will realize that your investments are worth it!
Change For The Better
Managing employees who are working from home can be tough, but it can always be done. Aside from following the tips in this article, do not forget to audit your efforts and make changes whenever necessary. If you plan on implementing all of the suggestions presented, take note of what works and doesn’t, and use this information to improve moving forward.