Since the start of the pandemic, an increasing number of workers have made the digital shift to remote working, where home life merges with work life. In response, business owners have had to act quickly to reshuffle their management processes and ensure a smooth transition for the team and the company.
Despite the challenges that come with managers being separated from their teams, the benefits of remote working are clear. Not only does it cut down lengthy commute times, it also boosts productivity, helps retain talent, and can often increase job satisfaction.
If you’ve been transitioning your business structure from in-office to working from home as a long-term solution post-COVID, read on for three tips on how to manage remote teams.
1. Keep communication open around flexible working conditions
With remote work on the rise, it’s important to offer employees flexible working hours while being clear about your policies. Your people must know when they need to be available versus when they can work to their preferred schedule.
“Pre-pandemic, many businesses were skeptical of remote work,” says Steven Clement, General Manager of Breathe HR, a digital HR, payroll and rostering software system. “However, COVID-19 has radically changed the expectations of where and how we work going forward.”
With parents more likely to experience a bias in the workplace, managers can remain supportive of working parents by giving them the option of flexible working hours that can easily be juggled around family responsibilities and their most productive times of the day. Some parents may want to work around their baby’s sleep schedule, while others work around the school day or are still juggling home schooling throughout the day.
It shouldn’t matter when your employee puts in their work hours, as long as they complete their tasks efficiently and to a high standard. With a surge of mothers entering the labour force thanks to pandemic workplace flexibility, other amenable work arrangements, such as job sharing, staggering shifts or splitting the work week between remote days and in-office days are gaining popularity and are driven by new technology.
Small businesses, even those that didn’t used to have ‘shifts’ as such, may now need or want to use software to better align their workforce on balancing work from home and the office.
“Virtual HR systems, like Breathe HR, are cloud-based solutions, which can be accessed anywhere, on any device,” Steven shares. “These solutions are perfect for helping managers keep on top of their day-to-day HR tasks, centralising data, and maximising employee engagement – no matter where they are based.
“Breathe’s Roster solution in particular gives managers visibility of when and where their team are working, helping to keep everyone on the same page.”
2. Set clear expectations and team goals
“Leadership has really had to shift their mindset and begin to embrace new ways of working that foster a productive, engaged, and motivated workforce – whether employees are physically based in the office or online,” says Steven.
But how do we keep employees motivated and on track? The key is to implement specific measurable goals so you can keep your team connected with a common purpose, while also helping them to work autonomously and see how they are contributing to the progress of the company’s wider goals.
With clearly outlined goals and expectations, your employees are better-equipped to prioritise tasks, plan their work schedule and make self-evaluated decisions.
“While businesses of all sizes have been forced to innovate and adapt in some form to remain productive and viable during the pandemic, skills like communication, organisation and time management have remained essential for managing people remotely,” Steven adds.
On top of this, having a specific system for employee recognition and reward, connected to your team goals, can make all the difference.
“Breathe HR has features that help you recognise employee achievements -a ‘kudos system’ – and link staff objectives to company-wide goals so there’s clearer engagement,” Steven explains.
3. Check in so they don’t check out
A good manager gives their employees useful feedback and is available to their team when needed.
“It’s important to remain visible. Take the time to arrange regular check-ins with remote staff and get to know their unique circumstances, so you can understand how to keep them energised and motivated,” says Steven.
While virtual meetings are an important part of a regular routine when working remotely, there are certain conversations that are best had face-to-face, where possible.
According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report about the future of work after COVID-19, “negotiations, critical business decisions, brainstorming sessions, providing sensitive feedback, and onboarding new employees are examples of activities that may lose some effectiveness when done remotely”.
While these aspects of work can be done remotely, face-to-face meetings help to develop stronger connections with your team.
“One of your biggest responsibilities is to inspire other people to be the best versions of themselves. Simple things like creating a culture of transparency and feedback and recognising good work are simple ways managers can get the best out of their employees,” says Steven.
Need some help?
Do you need more time to focus on your most valuable asset – your people? Check out Breathe’s HR and payroll software to see how it can help your business:
Give it a try with a 14-day free trial at breathehr.com.
This content is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Breathe HR.
Feature image: AdobeStock