In the past, employers have been reluctant to embrace remote work opportunities. Research has shown that remote workers tend to work more hours. Many employees now consider remote work to be a benefit and favor work opportunities that allow remote work. Working from home enables employees to save time and money because they do not need to commute. It’s also more profitable for employers because workers who are sick are less likely to come to the office and infect others. The extra time remote workers spend working each day increases their productivity.
Since the coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020, many companies have had to embrace remote work and implement remote work protocols. Overseeing employees and projects that are being worked on off-site presents unique challenges for managers. With some essential resources and protocols in place, you can manage your remote team effectively.
1) Establish Accessibility
Remote employees need access to documents and data to perform tasks. To implement remote work, your IT department may need to provide laptops to staff with appropriate programs installed. The IT team will also need to establish a network that enables staff to interact with the systems and data they require. Many companies use a cloud-based storage system that allows file sharing. Some systems may require passwords for access. Your company may also have a system in place that allows the IT department to establish user permissions. Once the user logs into the system, they will have access to the materials they need, and nothing else. This protects sensitive data from unauthorized access.
2) Provide Online Security
One of the risks of online work is security. Hackers who access data can use that information to commit identity theft. They can also take control of your company’s system and prevent your staff from accessing data until your company pays a ransom. As a team manager, one of your primary concerns should be ensuring the systems staff are using are secure.
Using a dedicated server is one way to improve security. With a dedicated server, only users authorized by your company will be accessing and updating data stored on your server.
Invest in an email security service. Email security services, such as the service offered by TrendMicro, keep spam and malware out of inboxes. The service assesses potential risks from unknown files. TrendMicro’s award-winning services will protect your staff, your clients, and your company from security breaches.
3) Set Clear Expectations
Every team needs a specific focus. Use custom objectives and key results (OKR) software to clarify team goals. OKRs examples from Workboard demonstrate how to set targets and identify how to measure your team’s progress. With OKR software from Workboard, all relevant team members will have access to their goals and a clear understanding of what needs to happen to fulfill those goals.
4) Communicate Regularly
Promote clear, consistent communication. As the manager, you should communicate with your team regularly. It’s also essential to communicate with staff one-on-one. This can help you develop a rapport and enable staff to address concerns or personal matters they do not feel comfortable discussing with the entire team.
Videoconferencing apps will enable your team to have face-to-face discussions. This can be an effective way of promoting teamwork and clear communication within the team. It also personalizes communication. Your team will be able to build a maintain a rapport with each other that can improve their performance.
5) Maintain Reports and Records
Some apps allow video calls to be recorded. You may opt to have team communications recorded and transcribed for your records, or you may opt to have an appropriate staff person present who can transcribe the discussion as it happens. Maintaining detailed records helps maintain continuity within the team. Your records will also verify who is responsible for specific tasks and any deadlines set.
After discussions, follow up with your team via email and recap the decisions made and actions required. Identify who is responsible for performing specific tasks and what their deadline for completion is. This will prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings, and ensure you know who to follow up with for a progress report.