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How Do You Effectively Manage Remote Workers?

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How Do You Effectively Manage Remote Workers?

How Do You Effectively Manage Remote Workers?

A post from our Managing Teams blog

      Written by Steve

The Issue Of Trust Is Key

Although it is no longer unusual for people to work remotely, their physical disconnection from a business environment makes it harder for employer's to directly assess the contribution they're making. This can lead to doubt concerning the individual's performance. In a normal office situation it's possible to directly monitor what a person is doing – often just by glancing in their direction or checking some basic statistics. You can also question that individual by sitting down with them at their desk and talking through any concerns you might have.

With remote workers, face-to-face discussions are not possible. This makes it difficult to assess their reliability and can force you to make assumptions about their performance. If they have not taken as many calls – or processed as many orders – as their on-site colleagues on a particular day, you'll be unable to assess the reason why and might jump to the wrong conclusion. Your views might also be inadvertently influenced by your peers, who mistakenly adopt the view that remote working is somehow easier (whereas, in fact, they often work harder due to the sense of isolation they experience). Managing Remote Workers

Effective Management Solutions

It's easy to forget about remote workers. As mentioned, because they are not visible, it's easy to adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind' approach – which results in these individuals being poorly monitored.

You might want to consider the following points when putting in place strategies to support those working remotely for your business:

  1. Have you defined clear targets for them? Statistically, they may appear to be weaker than your on-site workers, but is this because they work from home or because they've not been made aware of your expectations?
  2. Are there are any training issues that might be impeding their productivity? Remote workers may only visit your offices once a month, which means they won't benefit from continuous ‘on the job' training. They'll also have to absorb a lot of information during that meeting, as a lot of changes will have occurred since they last saw you.
  3. How do you adapt your management style? Getting to know a remote worker isn't easy. But learning about their personality will really help you to put in place better performance management strategies to assist them. Talking to them on the phone, or providing useful feedback via email, may help mend this gap.
  4. Is their motivation low? Working alone is not as fun as it sounds. Remote workers have no direct interaction with their colleagues and may miss out on encouraging verbal messages or important meetings. Finding ways to congratulate them on their work – and helping them to feel a part of a team – will increase their sense of worth and make them feel less isolated.

Find out more

If you look after remote workers and need further guidance about the skills needed to perform your role successfully, our Effective Management course will be ideal for you. How to give feedback, coach, motivate and develop a Personal Action Plan are just some of the areas we'll cover for you on the day.

For any of your own comments or questions, please post below, we value all contributions. For more information about management training courses, click here.

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