How to Manage Remote Employees
The human resource (HR) department of every organization keeps the workforce stable to keep pace with the industry. HR departments do that through employee recruitment and employee management. The set of responsibilities of an HR role is changing as the landscape of various industries change. One of those major changes is employees who are now doing their work remotely. If your company has remote employees, you should manage them well as an HR manager. Remote employees are different and quite more challenging to manage than regular employees. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t doable and achievable. Let us help you by discussing with you about remote employees and the 12 tips to manage them.
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How to Manage Remote Employees
Who Are Remote Employees?
Remote employees are employees in a company who perform their duties and responsibilities outside of the office or workplace. Basically, they report for work anywhere they want, provided they do so on schedule and on time. There are also some remote employees who are given the freedom by their employers to start working at any hour, as long as they accomplish and submit every task within the deadline. The purpose of allowing employees to work remotely is to boost their productivity and morale. Some employees are comfortable working in a place or setting which they prefer, such as the comfort of their homes. According to Mark Murphy in his article in Forbes.com, “you’re 87% more likely to love your job if you work from home.” That statement speaks volumes about why many companies are allowing their workers to become remote employees.
Set Goals and Expectations
Even though remote employees have more freedom than ordinary employees, they still need to follow the implementations and policies of your company. To keep them on the same page, make sure to set goals and expectations for them to be guided despite their remote work setting. With set goals and expectations, your remote employees will be inclined to exercise the same work ethic and employee commitment as they did in the office or in the actual workplace.
Among the checklist of top necessities in a remote work agreement should be communication. Communicating regularly with your remote employees is extremely important because you don’t meet them in person every day. You need to check and keep tabs on them every working day to be aware of their updates and concerns, and so that they’ll know important updates from the company as well. Communicate and report with your remote employees through SMS, phone call, or email. Keep in mind that excellent communication is an important factor in optimizing employee engagement.
Provide Required Tools
Before you grant employees to work remotely, you have to ensure if they have the tools needed to do their tasks. If they don’t, make sure to provide them with the required tools if the company’s budget allows it. Even though if they have the tools, it’s still advisable for the company to provide for them. Your remote employees’ own resources and tools could be suboptimal and can affect their work negatively. With tools that are company-provided, there’s no reason for each remote employee not to perform well as they should. In other words, they’ll have no excuse for underperforming.
Build a Community
Even though your remote employees aren’t working in one setting, it’s still important to build a working community with them. In fact, building a community with remote employees is more important because they’re far from each other. Your connections with them must be as strong in an office setting. Make good use of the internet. Establish a working culture with them using various online communication tools. Make them feel that they’re integral parts of the organization even though they’re working outside your company’s headquarters.
Use Video Communication Whenever Possible
If the respective internet connections of your remote employees are stable enough, consider communicating with them through video call/chat (VC). The reason why you should consider VCs is to relay information to your remote employees more clearly. Expressing instructions verbally is more effective than doing so through texts or written messages.
Establish Rules of Engagement
Remote employees must still act professionally and strictly comply with the mandates of their direct superiors. That said, you have to establish rules of engagement before granting them the privilege of working remotely. Rules of engagement will prompt remote employees to still showcase their subordination and abide by the company’s orders and mandates despite being away.
Boundaries and rules must be set and followed in any given setting or agreement in an organization, which, of course, includes remote work settlements. Setting boundaries to be followed by your remote employees is very important. Take note that the actions and activities of remote employees aren’t supervised directly. Some of their actions and activities might cause harm to the company, such as sharing important company info to external entities, accessing classified documents, and falsifying any forms or data owned by the company. Boundaries keep things in order for the welfare of your business.
Provide Help When They Need
Along the way, remote employees will encounter problems and concerns with their work that requires assistance. They must be attended to as soon as possible to avoid delays in their production. In that case, make sure to remind their direct superiors to help them immediately. You, as the HR manager, must also help remote employees if they have concerns regarding their salary, attendance records, etc.
Have Regular Meetings
General meetings through VC must be scheduled on a regular basis with your remote employees. Such meetings are important in case there are important announcements and updates that concern the entire workforce. However, it would be better to let remote employees come to your office during general meetings. In that way, you can at least meet them once a week or month and discuss work-related concerns.
Trust Your Employees
Granting employees to work remotely is a risk no doubt. However, it does make them productive due to various reasons. That said, you have to trust their capability of performing ethically outside of the actual workplace. Let them know that you trust them. Doing so will lift their morale and confidence to produce for the company from afar.
Performance management and performance review are very important to do for every employee, even more so for those who are working remotely. That said, you have to use trackers with HR metrics in monitoring the production of your remote employees. There are no other means to conduct an analysis of their performance because they are working away from the company’s premises.
Focus on Output, Not Activity
Indeed, as much as possible, you need to monitor the activity of your remote employees. However, you should focus more on their output. You can monitor their activities minimally as long as they’re not unethical. The most important thing, however, is that they should produce a daily output. Remote employees have no excuse not to meet their targets since they’re privileged to choose a work environment of their preference.
Although managing remote employees is different than the usual, you simply just handle them the way you handle regular employees, but with slight distinctions. With proper HR practices and employee relations, facilitating remote employees will be smooth-sailing.