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Remote Workers: Tips For Managing Your Team Digitally

woman doing remote work on her laptop and cell phone

Remote work is quickly becoming the new norm for businesses and employees alike.

Because of this change in the way we work — be it a natural evolution of how your business operates or a response to some external influence — the ability to coordinate and conduct remote work is an essential skill for managers in the 21st century.

In this article, the management experts at Sling give you tips for supervising your remote workers so your business continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

How to Manage Remote Workers

Man remote working at a restaurant at night

1) Provide The Right Tools

Managing remote workers with any degree of accuracy and control demands that you provide your employees with the right tools for the job.

For some businesses, that may mean allowing employees to take home company laptops, tablets, and even desktops to ensure that they have the hardware necessary to telecommute from an alternate location.

For other businesses, providing the right tools may mean granting access to apps like:

  • Sling
  • G Suite (Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and more)
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Microsoft Office Online (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more)
  • Dropbox
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Google Hangouts

These powerful online tools make conducting and optimizing remote work easier than ever before.

2) Standardize The Way You Conduct Remote Work

If you want to coordinate remote work effectively, you must standardize the way all of your team members work. You can’t have in-office employees working one way and remote employees working another way.

Alternatively, if all of your employees are telecommuting, it does your business a disservice if you allow them to conduct their remote work according to their own standards and schedules.

Both are recipes for disaster.

Think back to elementary school when your teacher made it mandatory to write your name (and perhaps even the date and subject) in the upper left corner of every assignment. If the teacher hadn’t done that, there’s no telling what some students would write at the top.

The same concept applies to remote work. For efficiency, it’s incumbent upon you — the manager or owner — to create standards for everything from document format, naming convention, and storage location to meeting structure and communication protocols.

3) Prioritize Clear Communication

Clear communication is essential for the success of your team and your business. It doesn’t matter if said team works together in an office or conducts remote work from multiple locations.

A diverse workforce often includes individuals who don’t speak the language with the same proficiency as their teammates. Even if everyone speaks the language equally well, it’s all too easy to misinterpret communication when you’re not face-to-face.

That’s why it’s vital to prioritize simple, direct communication amongst your remote workforce.

Train them never to assume they understand what you or their teammates are saying and to always ask questions to clarify the meaning if they are unsure.

4) Avoid Communication Overload

email notifications on a smart device

Communication overload is a very real thing when it comes to remote work.

If you’re sending multiple messages several times a day via email, Slack, Zoom, or any number of other communication apps, the distraction can be a speed bump to your team’s productive workday.

Avoid communication overload by limiting your messages, notes, conversations, and other interactions to one regular channel or app and only engaging with coworkers when necessary.

For non-business-related conversations, it’s extremely beneficial to set up a “Random” — or other aptly-named — channel that your team can use when they feel the need.

This keeps the “chit chat” to one place so that it doesn’t overflow into and disrupt the work discussions.

5) Extend Your Core Values And Standards To Remote Work

Regardless of whether your team works together in an office, is spread around the globe, or collaborates in some combination of the two, your business should extend its core values and standards to all employees.

These guidelines are best collected in an employee handbook of some sort.

Your handbook could be digital or hard copy, but, either way, it should provide both local and remote employees a framework on which to base their work and work habits.

6) Clarify Expectations And Responsibilities

You can simplify the way you manage your remote workforce by clarifying expectations and responsibilities for each employee right from the beginning.

If you neglect to establish this level of transparency, remote team members can unwittingly encroach on each other’s work — the result being unnecessary difficulties and delays.

Before you turn them loose, make sure that every member of your team — remote or local — knows where their responsibilities begin and end and what tasks they should and shouldn’t do.

7) Evaluate Performance With Deliverables And Deadlines

Evaluating the performance of local employees is fairly straightforward because you can take into account how well they get along with their peers, their work ethic, and other “in-person” variables.

But with remote team members, it’s more difficult because you don’t see most of those intangibles on a day-to-day basis.

Instead of using the traditional variables above, measure the bulk of your employees’ performance through the deliverables they produce and the deadlines they reach.

You can still get a sense of their behavior and attitude through regular communication and meetings, but it won’t be as obvious as with someone you see face-to-face every day of the workweek.

Organization Is Essential For Remote Work

Whether you’re scheduling your team members, monitoring the progress of a project, or gathering data for payroll, it’s vital to stay organized. Apps like Sling can help.

Sling app for scheduling remote workers

Sling coordinates, simplifies, and streamlines all your workforce management activities — whether it be for in-office employees or those engaging in remote work — by giving you a suite of tools for:

And much more! Regardless of the industry, Sling can keep you and your team members organized and focused on the project at hand. That can make managing remote work easier and less stressful.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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