Employees who work remotely will tell you what a godsend gift it is. Be it the grueling commute or the unwanted small talk, you get a free pass while working remotely. Remote work is great, however, it depends on how well it is managed. Poor management of a remote workforce can have devastating results. Let’s jump right into some worst practices which managers should avoid while managing a remote worker.
Giving minimal feedback/Only giving negative feedback
Feedback is essential to be productive. Virtual employees need to know if they are doing a good job, or if they need to make changes. No feedback has a negative effect on your remote team. By establishing a schedule where you provide constructive and positive feedback, your employee engagement will rise. A good manager will not only provide formal feedback, but consistent informal feedback that highlights not only areas for improvement, but areas in which they excel.
Not connecting with your remote employees
Virtual teams can be very diverse. When managers fail to understand who their employees are and what their culture is, they misunderstand their workers. If you do not understand your workforce, it is nearly impossible to succeed. If you have remote employees from different countries and you disregard their language, etiquette, religious/social obligations, and time-zones, you will not be able to manage them effectively.
Managers that do not make the effort to connect with their employees miss out on key chances to motivate and increase engagement.
Managers who do not make sure to include their remote employees in events for their traditional employees lose out on a great opportunity. An inclusive environment benefits all employees and the company with increased engagement.
Having poor communication skills & policies
Online communication is difficult. We all know of that “Facebook argument” that started simply because someone misunderstood the intent behind a statement. Communication is non-verbal as well. Communicating online removes the non-verbal cues and makes misunderstandings five times more likely to happen. The easiest medium to be misunderstood is email. Poor communicators are not clear when they express themselves. They use jargon that might not be familiar to other employees. This is a setup for disaster and employees that are not clear with the job needing to be accomplished.
To combat poor communication, make sure that communications are clear and state who does what, when they do it, and how they do it. Everyone has a different way they understand and interpret communication. Don’t assume everyone understands what you actually want to accomplish or communicate.
Poor communicators also choose the wrong channels to communicate with their employees. They also do not clearly define what channels their employees should use to communicate. Think of it like this, if you drove up on a wreck would you email the police department? When there is not a clearly defined policy for what channels to communicate, confusion and failure are most likely. This policy states how communications should take place. Have a preferred order of communication and share that order.
Communicate regularly with employees to make sure everyone is on the same page. Make expectations clear when it comes to timelines and deliverables.
Hiring the wrong people
Failing to understand what skills your remote workforce needs and hiring exactly like you would a traditional workforce is a poor practice. A good manager makes sure a potential employee is a good fit before they hire them. Along with the obvious skills, remote workers need to have a high level of enthusiasm for their work because it is too easy to get distracted. You need to have a high level of trust in your employees. They are remote with far less supervision than a traditional employee. You have to be able to trust them to complete their work, even when no one is looking. A remote worker must be an excellent communicator. Communication is a more difficult process in remote work, so your prospective employee must excel.
A good practice is to interview potential candidates by phone and ask them some simple questions. Ask them to reply to you by email. This will give you an idea of how well they will communicate remotely.
Using the technology available poorly
Poor use of technology will put a remote team at a great disadvantage. The beautiful thing is there is a technology for every need your remote workers have. Some good examples are Slack for group communication, Zoom.us for screen sharing, Google docs and sheets for documentation, Skype for calls, Trello or Basecamp for project management, and GitHub as a repository for information. Take a look at your current technology that is in place. Is it efficient? Does it work for everyone? Is it outdated? Make sure to take a look at your technology regularly. This is not something you can just do once and forget about.
Being a Micromanager
Micromanaging your employees is the #1 deterrent to keep your employees from being productive and successful. It is understandable that one might want to employ this style while managing a remote team, but it rarely works. When you micromanage your employees, they become resentful. Almost 60% of employees have stated they have had to work for a micromanager.
Characteristics of micromanaging includes constantly correcting people’s work, needing constant updates, demanding an account of absolutely everything, doubting others’ ability to succeed, inability to prioritize, and mistrusting of other employees. Forbes referred to micromanaging as “one of the most dangerous habits one can have in the workplace.”
Use technology to manage your remote workforce!
The challenges of managing remote employees are numerous but technology can offer you some respite. Remote workforce monitoring softwares like Remotedesk can make light work of a manager’s duties. It is also an efficient employee management tool that can help you increase employee productivity, manage workload and most importantly, secure confidential information. Here are some ways in which Remotedesk can transform any virtual location into a remote office:
- Continuous facial recognition makes sure only authorized agents gain access to sensitive data.
- 3-point identity verification (Facial Scan, ID Scan, and Knuckle Scan) and full system checks ensure a clean desk environment.
- Algorithmic processing enables automated monitoring for policy-compliance at scale.
- Features like screenshots, printing, and copying can be enabled or disabled depending on the type of work. Additionally, management can also blacklist URLs and webpages.
- Ensure performance transparency by actively tracking billable hours. Record productive hours and charge clients accordingly.
Remote working is soon replacing the idea of a “real office”. Following these simple cautionary steps can transform your remote workforce into a well-oiled machine. Want to know how Remotedesk can back you up with that? Visit Remotedesk.com to know more.