Over half of the US workforce has a job that is eligible for remote work. And, after COVID-19, experts predict that about 30% of workers will continue to work from home at least partially.
Times are changing and businesses are adapting to new methods of working. From hiring remote employees to learning how to hold regular team meetings online, there’s a lot to know about shifting to a work-from-home business model.
Whether you’ve been managing a remote staff for quite a while or are adjusting to the new norm, here are seven of the biggest mistakes to avoid when communicating with your team remotely.
One of the benefits of remote employees is that you don’t have to micromanage them. However, this can be difficult for managers and executives who have no experience with remote staff.
37% of remote workers said that they would take a 10% pay cut if it meant continuing to work remotely. Why? It’s hard to beat the flexibility that remote positions offer.
So, learning not to micromanage is crucial in not only allowing your team to thrive but also in retaining top talent that knows how to manage their own time and projects efficiently. How do you avoid micromanaging in a remote workplace?
Set expectations from the beginning. Develop a remote work policy that clarifies the rules, such as when employees should be online, how often they have to check-in, and deadlines they have to meet.
2. Forgetting to Hold Regular Team Meetings
For those that don’t micromanage their remote staff, it’s easy to lean too far the other way and forget to hold regular team meetings. There’s a fine line here between giving employees autonomy and ensuring every team member is on the same page.
Remote work can be lonely. So, holding regular team meetings is not only important in terms of communicating with employees but also in ensuring they’re all doing well mentally and emotionally.
Get familiar with remote communication apps such as Zoom or Slack and find a fun way to integrate Zoom “happy hours” or other weekly check-ins into the workweek. If it helps, ask your employees what they’d prefer.
Allocate a few minutes to clear up any work-related questions or to disperse important company information and updates. Then, move on to more fun things such as remote team-building exercises or trivia nights.
3. Not Providing a Remote Staff With Feedback
Not managing your remote staff’s performance is a big no-no. When you’re working in an office, it’s easy to meet with staff or to pass by their desk and drop a comment about a project.
However, when working remotely, this can be difficult. Establish daily touchpoints or set up alerts at the end of each day to stay on top of where everybody is at.
Make sure you’re still giving them praise and feedback as well. Don’t forget about those performance reviews.
Employees, whether in-office or remote, need feedback to not only feel valued but also to ensure that they know how to improve in their role. You can (and should) still hold quarterly reviews, but also think about monthly teleconferences, too.
4. Not Being Clear on Deadlines
Workflow platforms will save your life as a remote manager and employee. There’s nothing worse than missing a deadline because it wasn’t clear when it was or who was working on the project.
Think about which workflow platforms work best for your employees and the industry that you operate within. Salesforce, for example, is great for sales teams. But, Trello and Asana might work better for content teams.
Set up a Slack account for your team and create various channels for different aspects of the job. This allows everybody to stay organized, and it’s a centralized place where they can put information for other employees to see.
5. Not Using the Right Tools
Along with workflow platforms, it’s important to think about all of the other tools you and your employees will need to succeed in a remote role.
This includes everything from Slack and Google Drive to tools that are more about business administration and smaller tasks.
A check stub maker, for example, is a great tool to have on hand if you’re employing lots of remote freelancers or if your in-house accounting team is small and doesn’t have a lot of expensive software to help them with those tasks.
Research all of the business software a company might need to employ remote staff and ensure that every single employee, whether they’re on the marketing team or the accounts and receivables team, has what they need to succeed.
6. Irregular or Poor Communication
This goes hand-in-hand with holding regular team meetings. Communicating with employees on a daily basis is crucial in not only establishing a strong company culture but also simply establishing a strong working relationship.
When managing remote staff members, be sure you’re checking in via video at least once a week, if not daily. You’ll be able to cut down on miscommunications this way and ensure that you’re all on the same page.
7. Forgetting to Set Workplace Boundaries
Recent studies show that workers who have been working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis are experiencing higher levels of burnout. Why? They can’t seem to shut off after a day’s work at home.
As a manager, it’s your job to set workplace boundaries. Remember that different people live and work in different time zones and be respectful of their individual working hours.
Never send emails after hours or expect an employee to jump on a work call outside of normal office hours. They might be working from home and able to hop on the call easily, but they need time at home when they aren’t working, too.
Business Tips for Navigating Remote Work
Managing a remote staff doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s quite easy once you have all of the tools and tips you need to succeed. Head over to the other sections on our site to find more helpful resources that can aid you in navigating the new business world.