With 80 to 90% of employees saying they would prefer to work remotely at least part-time and over 50% of the workforce already working in a telecommuting role of some kind, offering remote opportunities has become essential when it comes to attracting productive employees.
Whether you’ve just started managing remote employees or you’re already familiar with the process but want to be prepared to face the challenges that come with it, this guide is for you.
We put together 10 tips to effectively monitor your remote employees to help you make remote work engaging and productive for the entire team.
1. Set clear expectations
Setting clear expectations is perhaps the most challenging aspect of managing a remote team effectively. Outlining what needs to be done clearly is essential in any kind of working environment, but even more so when managing a remote or distributed team.
To set clear expectations and monitor progress effectively, show specific examples of what you expect the employees to do, share calendars to track progress, and outline comprehensive briefs to make sure everyone is on the same page.
2. Make sure everyone has the right equipment
To manage and monitor a remote team effectively, it’s essential to make sure everyone has the technology they need to be successful. Sometimes this is just a laptop or a phone, but other times, it could be a more extensive set of technology. For example, if you expect employees to attend frequent virtual meetings, you need to make sure everyone has access to an adequate camera.
If you’re transitioning from an office environment to a remote team, don’t just assume everyone knows how to deal with virtual communications. It’s essential to acknowledge that virtual communications are simply different and won’t always be perfect.
3. Trust in your employees
One of the biggest mistakes project managers make when monitoring a remote team is micromanaging. Some of them become frustrated with the lack of visibility they once had when monitoring employees, but it’s vital to remember that constant micromanaging does more harm than good.
Micromanaging your employees is a sure-fire way to frustrate them, lower morale, and wipe out any hope of creativity or innovation. Even though the temptation to micromanage a remote team is high, it’s important to balance autonomy with accountability instead and build the right kind of trust. This typically requires regular and quality conversations with your team members.
Team communications should be less about updates and more about how you can remove barriers and offer the right level of support for your team.
4. Focus on outputs instead of processes
Enabling employees to complete their work in a way that’s most productive and easiest for them is essential in remote landscape. Many remote employees are juggling family and work commitments in their own homes, so project managers need to stop paying attention to the process and focus on what things are getting done instead.
5. Increase recognition
Effective recognition is great for morale boost as it motivates not only the recipient, but other team members as well because it shows them what kind of behaviours they should emulate.
Some of the ways to show recognition include public acknowledgment, development opportunities, tokens of appreciation and even low-cost perks.
6. Establish structured daily check-ins
Establishing a daily call with your remote employees is the secret to keeping everyone up-to-date while also giving you a chance to answer all the concerns or questions your team might have. Calls that are regular and predictable and also great for team morale and productivity because employees know that they will have the opportunity to voice their concerns.
Daily check-ins could take the form of team calls if the work is highly collaborative or one-on-one calls if the employees work more independently from each other.
7. Offer opportunities for remote social interaction
Project managers should insert informal conversations about non-work topics as regularly as possible. Remote social interaction is vital for every team’s morale and productivity, but especially for workers who have been transitioned out of the office.
Ideas include virtual office parties, happy hours, and virtual pizza parties, in which all team members have pizza delivered at the same time doing a video conference. Remote workers and managers have consistently reported that virtual events can help reduce feelings of isolation and promote a sense of belonging.
8. Be transparent about team monitoring
By practicing transparency in all aspects of project managing, you can positively influence the productivity of the team. Employees should always be aware of any policies in place that are designed to monitor them, and it’s essential to disclose while you are monitoring the employees so they continue to feel like a part of the team.
Failing to disclose the reasons behind monitoring employees can lead to distrust and tank productivity.
9. Always focus on communication
While it’s important not to fall into the trap of over-communication, it’s vital to read remote employees know that communication lines are always open. They should feel free to express any concerns they may have not only about a particular project, but also about the way they cope with working from home and dealing with isolation.
10. Make all monitoring policies company-wide
Workers shouldn’t feel like they’re being punished when management tracks their time. To counteract this feeling, make sure everyone knows that monitoring is a company-wide policy. Employees should also be able to see when their project managers are working, which contributes to maintaining a happy and productive team.
Ensuring that you monitor your remote employees the right way has become a necessary part of having a distributed team, but your efforts should be well-thought as well as transparent. Remember that nothing kills productivity like micromanaging, so do your best to trust their employees and keep communication lines open at all times.
Search Remotely is leading the way in the future of work. We help established companies to be able to hire the best international remote talent. In our current state of work, being able to monitor your remote employees effectively is important to ensure you get strong productivity in your business.