How to Manage Employees in a Remote World
Since 2005, remote working has increased by 140 percent, with approximately 4.3 million employees working from home to date. Though COVID-19 was a catalyst for many companies shifting to remote work, the trend started long before the pandemic. The lack of commute, improved work-life balance, and the power to create a flexible schedule are just a few of the many benefits correlated to this new working lifestyle. However, despite the many positive attributes of remote work, there can be some challenges with the digital future, especially in terms of leadership and management.
1. Sustaining morale and team relationships is more crucial than ever.
As workers get accustomed to their new working environment, managers need to ensure communication is flowing actively between departments, both to confirm business is seamlessly conducted, but also to check in on the well-being of the staff. Digital happy hours, teambuilding meetings, and video chats are vital in sustaining company culture and morale. Businesses planning to continue remote work after lockdown restrictions are lifted should organize in-person events to get better acquainted with their staff, delving into the passions and hobbies that inspire and cultivate conversations. Field days, weekend retreats, game nights, and company dinners are popular ways to engage with workers and increase happiness within the workplace.
2. Trust is key.
In lieu of requiring employees to download computer tracking software, managers should find less invasive ways to verify how worker prioritize their time. If deadlines are met, the quality of work hasn’t faltered, and the team remains reliable, refrain from imposing any tactics that encourage micro-managing. Instead, open the doors of communication. If an employee is struggling due to the effects of remote working, collaborate with the team member on what the obstacles are and how to tackle them.
The working term of “9-5 business hours” is fast becoming obsolete, with remote employees regulating their own schedules dependent upon their responsibilities at home, as well as their personal preferences. Managers may find certain workers are more productive and responsive during the later hours of the night, while others prefer to start work with the morning sun. Supervisors need to cater better to their teams’ needs and measure productivity over hours put in.
3. Managers suffer the same grievances as their subordinates do.
As the world continues to acclimate, it’s important to identify common issues workers face without the support of a traditional office climate. It’s no surprise comradery levels are lower when working from home, as the lack of face-to-face interactions hinders social norms. Videoconferencing also takes its toll on workers, in some cases causing extreme mental fatigue and even bouts of depression. Keeping a dialogue open for honest conversations on these struggles can impact the weight of adapting to a remote world. Offering therapy, meditation, and other forms of emotional support—including apps such as HeadSpace, Calm, and Dare—are attentive perks to offer staff and help ease their internal struggles for a more refined work life.
Training Tips for New Employees
Managers hiring new additions to their team will need a vigorous onboarding plan to easily integrate new members into the department. Digital presentations from various key personnel in the company is an effective way to ensure new hires are welcomed. Involving staff in meetings on responsibilities, tasks, and even the backstory of the business’ history offers a comfortable approach to settling into a remote position.
The last piece of information managers should consider is providing new remote hires with a complete IT setup weeks before their determined start date. As IT professionals are learning and adapting to servers and technology in a remote world, supplying new employees well in advance will eliminate any potential threats or challenges that may hinder their starting days on the job.
As the world adjusts and conforms to remote working, managers and employees alike need to amplify their concerns, partake in a robust amount of communication, and offer support wherever needed. Remote working has opened a glorious platform for businesses, allowing for more family time, less stress-induced commuting routines, and higher productivity rates. Remote working is the future, and with a few minor adjustments, businesses will notice the thriving spikes in their teams’ work-life happiness.
As global CEO, Jed Ayres leads IGEL’s seasoned team of executive leaders as the company works to align with the world’s most prominent cloud providers to transform end-user computing by simplifying and securing the cloud delivery of all needed applications and resources. Ayres brings more than 20 years of technology experience to IGEL and has a wide range of industry experience across workspace management, virtualization, and mobility. Prior to joining IGEL, he was the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for AppSense and previously held the title of CMO at MCPc, a $300 million-plus solutions provider. Ayers has held several advisory board positions, including Citrix Platinum Council, VMware Global Partner Advisory Board, Hewlett Packard Partner Marketing Advisory Board, and the Cisco Marketing Council. He holds a BS in Business Administration from Sonoma State University and an MBA from San Francisco State University.