With most people suddenly forced into working remotely due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many of us are wondering how we can effectively manage people remotely.
To help people in this position, we have pulled together our 5 tips for how to manage people remotely, which can be supported by any performance management tools or systems you already have in place.
1. Virtual 121’s
Rather than just informal communication as we may have had in the workplace, this is the time for managers to ramp up the frequency of 121’s to at least once a week. With high numbers of your workforce working remotely, communication can be disrupted making people feel isolated and unfocused. Adding in the personal stresses and strains caused by a crisis such as this, it has never been more important to show empathy and focus on the individual.
Focusing on the needs of the individual first and foremost is a good practice during any 121. Use a standard structure during your 121 as you usually would. Instead, start with how the individual is feeling rather than getting straight into a task. This will provide support and structure, providing a sense of normality whilst working remotely.
You can download our free guide on 7 Simple Steps to One to One’s here.
2. Break Down Objectives
Working remotely can come with its own type of distractions. People may lose focus by getting caught up in social media and things going on in the background, especially for those with children and pets at home. Circumstances may cause a change in business priorities, so it is important to reflect on objectives and adjust focus if necessary. On the positive side, working remotely can be a great opportunity for people to focus on project work that would take longer during normal business life.
Therefore, when managing people remotely, be sure to break staff objectives down into milestones and actions with daily or weekly deliverables which you can then review during your 121’s. This will ensure that key projects remain on track and individuals are provided with a sense of achievement. Most importantly, ensure that the employee has clarity on their priorities enabling them to maximise productivity.
3. Promote Self-Development
In normal times we are often too busy to take the time out to develop ourselves. Without the daily commute, people have more time in their day. Why not encourage staff to use this time to develop themselves with online courses or reading books or articles? There is a plethora of resources online that may be of use to individuals. Encourage everyone to do an hour’s self-development daily and capture their progress.
4. Recognise Positive Behaviours
Just because we aren’t with physically with people doesn’t mean we can’t still give recognition for a job well done, particularly under these challenging circumstances. As a manager, try to go out of your way to catch people doing things right and recognise them in some way. Either by recognition in a team chat or a more formal way if you have some sort of recognition technology. By sending that recognition for an email that you read or a well-conducted web demonstration, you are showing that your team may be out of sight, but they are not out of mind.
5. Hold Virtual Team Meetings
Use collaboration technology to bring people together weekly. This can be an opportunity to set and share progress against team goals and objectives. Allow people to transfer knowledge around personal development and recognise others for their contribution. Make time for casual team chats or consider having 'virtual coffee groups' that people can interact informally in. Have a sense of fun and camaraderie by asking people to share a picture of their workspace. Or perhaps ask your team to introduce their new work family - human, animal or plant.
You can download our free infographic on 5 Tip for Managing your Remote Workforce here.
This content is based on an episode of The HR Uprising Podcast, hosted by the CEO of Actus Software, Lucinda Carney. The Podcast is intended to help HR and L&D professionals to elevate the way their role within the organisation is perceived by delivering real, lasting value. Listen Here.
Watch our webinar on the topic of How to Manage People Virtually below.