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Managing Remote Employees

There is no doubt that flexible working is on the rise, and therefore it is increasingly important for line managers to be comfortable in managing employees in various locations. With advances in technology making remote working more accessible, and Gallup reporting that productivity amongst remote workers is the equivalent to an extra day per person per week, it’s not surprising more and more companies are introducing and expanding flexible working practices. However, this is often a new and/or a challenging situation for line managers, to be able to build trust and be in control of employees. Managers need to be able to adapt to support remote working practices for both the employee and the company. Steps to managing remote workers:
  • Set clear expectations – People learn a lot from context, and the less time they spend in the office, the less context employees have about their manager’s expectations. So managers need to be explicit about what the remote worker must produce. The parameters, deadlines and metrics of tasks must be crystal clear, but so should the manager’s personal feelings. If a manager needs weekly progress reports, for instance, or prompt replies to emails, the manager must say so and hold the employee accountable.
  • Focus of goals and output – as it can be difficult to manage remote employees’ daily activity, it is vital for line managers to measure performance against the employee’s outputs and ensure the employee has on-going goals and targets in order to measure performance.
  • Build Trust – both parties need to build trust through meeting expectations, keeping to deadlines and frequent interaction. Telephone call, face time and even ad-hoc face to face meetings help to build a rapport between the employee and their line manager. In addition employees should know who they can turn to if their line manager isn’t available and therefore involving the whole team and company are also vital.
  • Personalise the employee experience – line managers need to accept different ways remote employees work. For example, some remote employees will feel isolated by working alone, while others will feel liberated. Some love 24/7 access to work; others need to have a real boundary between office and home. Some do their best work in the middle of the night, while others keep strict office hours[2].
  • Have longer one to ones meetings – this will allow line managers to build rapport and discuss ad-hoc issues. Ensure that a variety of topics are covered to ensure there are no underlying issues, which may otherwise get missed from the employee not being in the office.
  • Have reliable tools and equipment – it is an essential part of collaboration for remote employees to have access to their emails, files, conferencing facilities and all other tools the company and their team use, as if they worked in the office. Equipment should also make it easier for them to work or promote remote working.
If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk  ©️ Copyright Clover HR
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