How to Manage Remote Workers
For a while now, the concept of remote working has been expanding from industries to industries, businesses to businesses, and organizations to organizations. Up to the early 2000s, most companies believe that it’s important that all their employees work within the axis of the company at a specific time. However, the rise in globalization and technological advancement is changing the narratives of industries around the world. Organizations now hire employees from other states, cities, countries, regions, and continents to work for them right from their current location. Emerging technologies have helped us with tools that can be used to relive the office atmosphere inside our homes. Thus, workers now have the opportunity to work in solace and tranquility. They don’t need to be bounded by time before they can perfectly execute a task or complete a project.
In 2020, Covid-19 shook the world. The world experienced an infection, a break, and circumstance in which we’ve never experienced before. The advent and spread of the virus affected all humans, industries, and sectors. The way we worked, live, interact, and carry out our activities changed in one way or the other. The normal work routines changed, the way businesses and transactions are carried out all changed. There was a virtual pause in each of our activities. We were forced into a state of isolation and lockdown. While in this cloudy and turbulent state, humans need to engage in some activities for survival’s sake, businesses need to continue to avoid folding up, the government needs to be supportive to make Ife easier for people and businesses. In the multitude of these happenings, the concept of “remote work” and “work from home” was rapidly taking over. Organizations began to use remote tools in continuing and growing their businesses from the comfort of their homes. Collaboration and virtualization tools were used in organizing meetings, conferences, presentations, etc. Big companies and other organizations around the world have started to make the Covid-19 work alternative a company’s norms. These organizations have given some of their workers the liberty to remote work in the new normal era. For instance, Amazon will legalize remote working from June 2021, Facebook plans to allow about 50% of their staff to work remotely forever. VMware has offered all its employees permanent remote work options, and Twitter has likewise given their employees the freedom to choose between remote working or work from the company’s office.
But then, what is this remote work concept? Who are the remote workers? What are the best ways of managing these workers and their activities? In this article, we will share more light on these questions for employers looking to hire or manage remote workers.
What is remote working and who are remote workers?
Remote working also known as telecommuting is referred to a system of work in which employees do not need to travel down to their company’s office for work duties such that they can work with comfort right outside the company’s central workspace. Remote workers are employees that have determined to work outside the vicinity of the company’s office at all time. Workers in this category are required to be skillful and resourceful. They must have a great sense of time management and self-starting attributes.
How to Manage Remote Workers
Remote working is a very different mode of executing a job/task for an organization. It requires the use of the right media and tools alongside the implementation of productive measures in keeping up with work expectations. Companies that allow remote work must be ready to work with their workers in management, continuity, safety, and work execution. Although remote working has a lot of perks for employers, it has the tendency of resulting in a dangerous act when it’s not properly carried out and checked. In this section, we’ll be sharing some tips on how employers can properly manage their remote workers.
Flexibility and Trust
While managing a remote workforce, employers are advised to collect flexibility among their employees. Flexibility will give the workers the ability to work at their comfort convenience. They have the opportunity to use any method or strategy in executing a job without leaving the jurisdiction of the company’s policies. Employers must also be flexible in dealing with remote workers. You don’t have to impose all work regulations on them. For instance, pep talks can be done anytime.
Furthermore, to successfully manage remote employees, employers must be ready to fully trust their workers. Give them your full support and trust. This will help them to reciprocate the trust and deliver all deliverables timely and in top quality. Organizations must always remember that trust is very essential and important in promoting productivity, loyalty, and quality while leading remote teams.
This is one of the most important tips for managers managing employees onsite or physically. Compliance is an important factor that can affect the growth and sustainability of an organization in place. When companies are engaging the services of remote workers, they must ensure that the workers observe all the labor laws, workplace rules, and regulations, expected statutory obligations, etc. For instance, your employees must be cautioned from owning a dog in places where dogs are restricted, the must ensure that the workers pay their taxes that the company is not meant to pay.
Concurrently, companies must maintain and ensure compliance with all statutory obligations, labor laws, etc in a country of operation. They are expected to carry out all their obligations to the employees (both remote workers and onsite staffs.) Employers must also ensure that their employees working on-site or remotely are properly classified. Not all remote workers are independent contractors and vice versa. Thus, the right classification must be done to avoid circumstances that will tear the organization apart.
Organization is another important tip for managing remote workers in any company. Organization in this context refers to how milestones and tasks are arranged, planned, and executed. As an employer, be organized in your objectives, action plans, goals, etc. Ensure that the targets to be hit are well stated as early as possible. All expectations and deadlines must be clearly stated and declared. Work modalities, processes, methodologies, and steps must be outlined properly to ensure speed, focus, and quality. Since they are working away from their offices, they must be equipped with basic work objectives to establish clarity. When organization is in place, they can easily translate the work spirit in the office to wherever they are working from.
A good, flexible and inclusive work policy is another important solution to how to manage workers remotely. With this policy, work relationships and responsibility will be sorted out all clearly defined. It identifies the party that is responsible for the cost of service, personal insurances, salary breakdown, working hours and modalities, etc. Companies should allow flexibility in their work policy and give space for worker’s suggestions. The policy must establish what is required from the remote employees to the company, how their workers will be measured and quantified, ways in which they will carry out the work, their basic and legal rights, etc. All supporting rules of engagement must be established.
Availability and Proactiveness
The lack of availability of an employer to a remote worker is one of the biggest challenges of working remotely. When employers decide to reduce or disable their availability away from their remote employees, they are gradually exposing the organization to a big risk. Work will not be properly done, communication will be short-circuited, support will be absent, etc. Thus, while managing a remote team, employers must make themselves to be readily available to workers. Availability will breed good communication which will in turn help in delivering support when needed. In case of emergencies, employers that are readily available to their team will be there to provide proper support. Availability will also help the employer in being proactive in the works and duties of the employees. Hereby making risky issues detectable before becoming harmful.
Collaboration and Inclusion
Remote team management is a very delicate and intricate task in which organizations are expected to properly take care of. Employers must ensure that all their remote and onsite workers in the same, related, or different departments working on a similar or same project must be well connected. This will breed innovation and creativity among the employees. Diversity and inclusion will be outstanding in the organization since workers with different abilities and backgrounds can work collaboratively, safely, and effectively without any discrimination. The collaboration will eliminate every form of isolation a worker might be experiencing when working. In all goodness, collaboration and inclusion will enhance productivity and growth in the company.
Celebrate and Recognize
Employers must try their best in celebrating their onsite or remote employees after completing a milestone, reached a feat, achieve success, etc. Employers are always motivated and challenged to more when they are recognized for a particular achievement. The celebration and recognition should not necessarily be monetary, they can be in form of bonuses, compensations, awards, public acknowledgment, etc. Since remote workers experience less visibility when compared to those working within office space, they must be acknowledged in a more innovative way than those working onsite.
Relationship and Communication
Communication must be respectful and professional just as it will be in the office. Good communication is another important method as to how to manage a remote team or remote employees. A well-structured communication channel will help employers in providing supports, being proactive, promoting dialogues, etc. Good communication involves employers communicating the roles, wants, responsibilities, etc to the workers. The communication must be a two-way flow such that the employer’s messages are well sent, delivered, and interpreted by the employees and vice versa. Excellent remote workforce management must be open to the use of several communication options, media, and channels. A well-structured communication will grow excellent workspace relationships. Good relationships help the company in reaching its targets on that.
Job Security and Supervision
While managing teams remotely, companies must ensure that they provide remote workers with good job security. Worker’s terms of service and contracts of the agreement must be properly drafted, signed, and kept. Employee’s jobs must be guaranteed and secured no matter how long the workers worked. Proper safety and work-bound insurance must be attracted to the remote employees.
Furthermore, close and thorough supervision must be given to the workers. Since their visibility is minimal to the central office, then close monitoring, tracking, and supervision must be regularly done. This will help in ticking all boxes, watch activeness and loyalty, etc. Employers might decide to use daily check-in strategies or pulse surveys in keeping track of activities and asking questions.
The place of training cannot be displaced when managing remote employees. The organization must ensure that they provide their remote staff with timely, proper, and adequate training on their roles, assignments, company values, relationship, and communication ethics. This training should promote collaboration and productivity in the organization. Employers must ensure that the workers have the needed knowledge and devices to carry out the tasks given to them.
Common Challenges of Remote Work
Employees working onsite brilliantly and exceptionally may find it difficult to translate the same energy to remote work. Employers that have been well versed in managing employees physically may find it difficult to exhibit the same level of management to a remote team. There are several challenges of working from home or remotely. Some of the challenges are outlined below:
Lack of proper safety and security for the workers
Inadequate monitoring and supervision
Misclassification of employees
Little or no access to enabling technologies or devices
Minimal access to information
Stress and tiredness
Unforeseen technical issues and circumstances
Lack of self-starting ability
How WEHG will help in Managing your Remote Team
As a Global PEO, we assist organizations in selecting the best candidates for their remote team, we help in strategizing and formulating the right compensation and benefit plans. We manage the employee’s payroll taxes and ensure 100% compliance while mitigating all associated risks by 100%. We consistently strengthen the connection between you and your staff with our enabling services.
FAQ How to Manage Remote Workers
Remote workers’ management can be effectively done when the employer and the employees do everything that is expected of them. Workers must be innovative and disciplined. There must be proper communication, regular and consistent availability, improved collaboration and inclusion, etc. The proper structure must be in the employee’s location for effective work execution.
HR Managers and the leaders of the organization can support their remote employees by providing the employees with deserved recognitions and accolades, improved communication channels and options, engaging and flexible work policies, creative interaction strategies, regular professional and emotional supports, etc.
As remote work is gradually taking over the workplace especially the digital and technological industry, these are some of the commonest challenges that face remote working; failure in meeting deadlines, irregular availability, little or no support, social distraction, stress, misclassification, switch in loyalty, etc.