A Manager’s Guide To Leading A Remote Workforce
Global lockdown and border closures have meant that more businesses are switching to a remote workforce, which has spelled success and challenges respectively. For a manager, the role of managing a workforce remotely does not come with a manual, which makes things even trickier if the manager has great success with face-to-face employee relations. In an ever-changing world, it is critical to stay ahead of the times so let’s cover the working guide to leading a remote workforce.
Ensure Your Team Is Appropriately Set Up
Despite what remote working naysayers would have you believe – those working from home are not just propped up in their bed. In fact, most remote professionals have a dedicated working space with a standing desk in Australia, a quality chair for seated work, ergonomic accessories, and the right hardware to achieve productive work. Anything else is simply not sustainable. As a manager, it is essential that you touch base with your team to make sure they have this kind of workspace set up for their wellbeing, but also for your insurance and liability as an employer.
Managers are always asking about how they can know what their team is doing. With the right online tools and task management programs, you can have a total line of sight over what everyone is working on, where the bottlenecks appear, and projected timelines. The best workflow programs will come at a cost, but they are invaluable! Most come with a free trial so test out a few and gauge from your remote team what they like using and why before you make their choice. Another key ingredient to success here is trust – you have to trust that your team is working. It will become evident if they are not, so before checking in for the fifth time in an hour, ask yourself “Am I showing my team that I trust them”?
Find the Fun
Without the proverbial water cooler to congregate around for banter and laughs, how do you have fun with your peers and employees remotely? It is certainly possible, but it will require some forethought on your end so that you can tailor an activity that allows your team to come together and blow off some steam and engage over video without work on the agenda. Organizing a remote trivia tournament is a great idea, or even an online murder mystery or a general ‘happy hour’ where everyone can grab a drink and kick back on zoom. Don’t overthink it as you don’t want to project manage the fun too much, but rather facilitate a forum for everyone to relax and chat.
Quality Onboarding and Management
Bringing a face-to-face team online might not be much of a challenge, but hiring and onboarding remotely can be a unique hell for some. This is where your onboarding program needs to be airtight so that you are providing your new hire with all the information and access they need for them to essentially pick up the reins and start working productively when they are onboarded. In a physical office, you can always wander around and ask questions but you are not afforded the same luxury in this online format so be sure to over-plan. You also want to instill in your new and existing team that you are on call to support their workflow at all times.
If someone told us years ago that we would all trade in the office for an online office, we probably wouldn’t have believed them. Now that you are here, you can start to test your management skills in a new arena and manage a remote workforce to achieve their goals and have fun while doing it.
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