The nation’s workforce continues moving from traditional office settings to remote work. This presents an array of benefits and challenges for employers and employees. Following are a few ideas to help make the transition smoother and more effective.
Train Your Managers
Your management team may not have the experience and knowledge to effectively lead a remote team. Fortunately, there are effective ways for managers to help remote workers remain effective, motivated and collaborative with other team members. Helpful resources include certification courses from various colleges and universities. Here’s two examples: Utah State University Certified Remote Work Leader and Cornell’s Leading Remote Teams – Cornell Certificate Program. Here’s another good resource from Hubspot – Free Remote Leadership Training: How to Manage a Remote Team. Setting a regular schedule for continuing education in management strategies for remote workforce is a sensible way to develop a depth of understanding supporting individual teams and the productivity of your entire company.
Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
The transition to working outside the office can be challenging for anyone. That includes new hires just out of school, employees close to retirement, and everyone in between. Working remotely can result in natural anxiety about changing expectations for even the most motivated employee. That includes not having immediate access to management for questions and guidance, and the loss of camaraderie and brainstorming opportunities with team members. An obvious goal for management is making sure remote workers have the right tools and management support to be productive. They also need clear guidance on the procedures and protocols for communicating with managers and other employees in their department or other departments. Another consideration is trying to adjust hours to be in sync with a person’s optimum productivity pattern. That often varies between individuals. This level of consideration is a thoughtful way to promote productivity while enhancing motivation.
Importance of Communication
Talking with employees about their work schedules, accomplishments, and goals is a key part of a manager’s job. And while the mental health of employees should always be a priority regardless of their location, remote work creates additional challenges for managers assessing morale and results. Plus, the isolation and temptation to overwork can blur the need for balance. This can lead to burnout, fatigue, and in some cases, mental and physical breakdowns and illnesses. Communicating openly and being mindful about opportunities to have team members getting together at the main business location or offsite can help keep the channels of communication open. That includes more scheduled conversations between the manager and the individual employees on their team.
Key Takeaway: The many advantages of remote work are well established. Learning management strategies for remote workforce will help make sure that morale and productivity of all team members continues to be a high priority, requiring active engagement by individual managers and the senior leadership team supporting them.