Five Easy Ways To Keep Your Remote Team Mindful & Motivated

Do you rely on work from employees who spend some or all of their time working away from your office? If you’re like most business managers the answer is undoubtedly “yes.”

More American employees are working remotely according to a recent Gallup survey of more than 15,000 adults.  According to the survey, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. An increase in remote employees means a related increase in the need for effective remote office and employee management.

Big growth of remote work presents big challenges to traditional management styles. Often, these center around face-to-face conversations and observing whether an employee appears to spend a lot of time at his or her desk. How can you make sure remote employees stay on track when you don’t see them every day?

The answer is a combination of changing management practices and adopting technology that gives managers insight into employee activities and vice-a-versa.

Here are some tips for successfully managing remote workers, from Your Happy Family Law Attorney:

  1. Focus on what, not when.

We all work differently. Remote workers are no different.  Many remote workers create tailored schedules based on when they are the most productive.  I tend to do my best work at the very beginning of the day during the early morning hours when most people are still asleep. An then again later on in the evenings around the time most of the “normal world” is siting down to dinner.

Rather than micromanaging when employees are getting work done, focus on what they are doing well, and consistently achieving. If deadlines are being met, and work quality is up to par there are more important things for you as the boss to be thinking about.  Not only will you end up with better productivity in the long term, but also happier, more engaged, trusting and confident employees.

  1. Share and streamline activity tracking.

Why has the number of people working in a virtual office space has doubled in recent years? Because it’s easier than ever to work from home and use software to collaborate online and keep your team focused, organized and on task.

Just because you’re in a different city or even time zone doesn’t mean you can’t still communicate and work together as if you were in the same room. My team and I rely on Asana for our team collaborations and project tracking.  Asana looks and acts like an email inbox but groups projects with the ability to add due dates, “likes” and stars for essential items in one place. It integrates with some other third-party sites including Google Drive and Slack. Many well-known organizations like Uber and The New Yorker use Asana, so that’s a good sign that this tool is pretty popular.

Other virtual tools to explore include:
For task management -Proof Hub, Trello, Basecamp;
For Project/Task Management -Wrike, Slack, NutCache, Teamwork.com
For Collaboration/Communication -Sococo, GLIP Kanban Tool

  1. Make sure everyone knows they are a part of the team.

Keeping remote employees in-the-loop is essential.  How you do so will vary based on the number you have, whether you have on-site employees as well and your overall management style. Important things to keep in mind include having a quick and easy means of communication available, remembering to ask employees for their input where appropriate and including remote employees in important processes and decision making for the business.

  1. Establish a time and method for regular check-ins.

Obviously, individualized work schedules, not to mention time-zone differences, if applicable, can make it difficult for other employees to reach remote workers when they need to. The solution, is to work with remote employees and establish some times when they will be consistently available to respond to phone calls, email, or other messages–rather than try to shoehorn them into an established schedule that may not be the best for their work patterns or home situation.

Weekly one-on-ones are a must for effectively coaching all your staff, but they’re especially important for remote workers. They don’t have the same opportunity to pop into your office or have happenstance encounters in the break room to ask a quick question. In addition to a scheduled time to talk, find mutually beneficial ways to check in at other times. That may include chat, text messages, or looking for times that are convenient for a quick talk.

How often should you check in with each remote worker? The right answer will vary depending on the remote worker’s job, personality, experience on the job (or lack thereof), and your company culture. In general, I think it’s a better idea to err on the side of check-ins that are too frequent because if they prove unnecessary you can always cut back. Whereas if they don’t happen often enough, increasing the frequency may lead to an awkward conversation about why more monitoring is needed.

  1. Get to know remote employees as people.

A remote office culture can only be built with intention and consistent action.  Without daily in-person interactions to rely on, getting to know your remote work staff is going to take some effort. Engaging for purposes other than discussing current projects is a good start.

As a boss or manager you should be in touch with what drives or depletes their passion and enthusiasm, as well as their aspirations short and long term.  A healthy working relationship is one that allows both employers and employees the opportunity.

  1. Schedule regular face-to-face encounters.

Scheduling face-to-face meetings with remote workers at least once per quarter is a good minimum guide, Grosse says. “n-person interactions with the broader team help build better camaraderie and eliminate mistrust. I like to host what I call family dinners with my team. We work and support each other like a family and its important that our off-duty interactions incorporate similar principles. Beyond that, our get togethers are a great time to focus on career objectives and performance, and ultimately form a stronger bond.

By, Sahmra A. Stevenson, Esq. (“Your Happy Family Law Attorney”)

S.A. Stevenson Law Offices, LLC

Email: s.stevenson@saslawOffices.com; Twitter: @SAS_Law; IG: SahmraStevensonEsq; Facebook: @SASLawOffices; www.saslawoffices.com; www.officewithoutwalls.org