Managing Remote Employees

DeskCove Team

Managing remote employees can be especially challenging for managers who are unfamiliar with virtual workplaces.  You can’t call a meeting on the spur of the moment. You can’t just check in with staff on the spur of the moment. Distance , isolation, and a lack of in-person engagement can all contribute to a sense of mystery and detachment.

Although virtual labor adds to the complexity of leadership, managing remote employees isn’t all that dissimilar from leading onsite teams. Regardless of where they work, all managers face the same basic obstacles when it comes to leading others.

Participating in unpleasant talks with staff is one such difficulty that all manager will face at some point. In any situation, having difficult conversations with staff is undoubtedly uncomfortable. However, both parties are subject to misunderstandings in a workplace where a boss, encounter in person. Navigating these challenging talks successfully virtually necessitates a better stage of emotional intelligence as well as more intention.

Build a Positive Foundation

So much of what you do before a situation with an employee can influence the outcome of potentially difficult conversations.

Having comfortable talks with employees may be easier than it sounds if you take the appropriate steps proactively and regularly. Take the time at the start of your engagement with each employee to:

You and your staff ought to be able to communicate openly and honestly with one another. Instead of seeing you as a competitor, your employees should see you as a mentor who wants to see them thrive.

Invest time to get to know the people on your team.Find out about their personalities, working styles, and communication styles. To create rapport and gain a better understanding of who your employees are, participate in remote team-building events or virtual social gatherings. Learn how to change your management approach to better assist each employee’s performance.

Personal goals should be established.Discuss your employees’ roles and duties, work processes, anticipated output quality, work hours, and accessibility for conferences with them. Don’t assume you’ve communicated your expectations clearly; be thorough and question your workers whether there are any questions. This is among the most common blunders made by managers of remote and on-site teams.

Examine the company’s remote work policy.   This policy should address the company’s remote working demands and standards, such as the technology to be used, IT and data security standards, ideal working circumstances, productivity standards, and policies and processes to secure sensitive information.

You may show your team that you trust them by focusing on outcomes rather than persons. To put it another way, don’t get too caught up with how many hour shifts employees spend online per day or how frequently they check in. There’ll always be distractions when employees operate from home.

Instead, concentrate on your employees’ production — what they performed well and completed, as opposed to what they omitted or didn’t finish. You must trust your coworkers in a remote workplace because you can’t enforce them from faraway.

You can also earn colleagues’ trust by facing up to your faults and recognizing areas for growth. Be honest if your activities caused an employee’s error or overlook. You could say anything along the lines of:

“I’d like to provide you a feedback on a recent assignment you finished. To be fair, I didn’t fully set expectations, so let’s define them now and see how we may handle the next job.”

Use Video Calls

When it comes to managing remote employees and having difficult conversations over the phone, video chats can be quite useful. A videoconference is the next best thing to an in-person meeting since it allows you and your employee to see nonverbal clues, gestures, and facial expressions from each other. It’s just more intimate. That’s why, unless it’s a follow-up to a verbal chat, you should never communicate bad news to an employee via email or any other kind of written communication.

Here are a few points to know:

Choose which conferences demand everyone to be on video with care. Don’t put off getting your colleagues on a video conference till you will have to have a crucial chat. Face-to-face interaction with your staff ought to be a regular occurrence. Simultaneously, multiple protracted video conferences can weary team members and lead to burnout more quickly than in-person meetings.

Deliver both good and negative feedback via video calls. Your workers will dread speaking to you whether you only want to have a video conference once you have something nasty to say. They’ll see you as a coach rather than a disciplinarian, which isn’t a position of power.

Give workers advance notice that their cameras will be turned on. Do everything you can to alleviate any further discomfort during difficult conversations. Notifying staff ahead of time that a conference will be recorded will help them avoid being unprepared and taken off guard.  It’s a small gesture that produces a lot of goodwill.

Do not utilize video to micromanage your employees. If you have to see your staff to make sure they’re paying attention and working, it’s a symptom of bad management and a lack of trust. Instead, use video as a tactical tool to build your relationship with your staff at critical times.

Be prepared

Have a plan in place to maintain your dialogues with employees on track, on time, calm, and professional. Taking risks will jeopardize those goals.

Bring your major points to any meeting, backed up with detailed examples. Concentrate your criticisms on a specific behavior or area of job performance; never make it personal or directed at the individual.

The conversation’s ultimate purpose is to chart a course for the worker to follow in order to improve. Rather than wasting time debating what went wrong with the employee, steer the conversation toward a solution. This should take up a majority of the conversation.

Clarify The Issue

Listen to your employee’s side of the story after you’ve stated the problem as you see it. They will be grateful for the chance to speak up.

Find out whether their work performance or workplace conduct has been impacted by an individual circumstances and how you can handle it. On the other hand, you can determine whether the problem with performance or conduct is due to a lack of information or training, or a misunderstanding of expectations. Otherwise, it might be a simple disciplinary matter.

This practice will assist you become a much more empathic leader, and you and your worker will be able to work together to find a mutually accepted solution for going ahead. This collaborative listening method lowers the chances of a difficult conversation having long-term negative consequences for employee engagement.

Plan Next Steps

Clarify what the urgent future actions will be after the meeting, depending on the circumstances of the individual employee. Whether  this is a disciplinary problem, inform them that this talk is the first step in the disciplinary process and clarify when they’re in the process. Whether  the employee would benefit from a behavior improvement plan, either work with them to create one or require them to present one by a certain date.

Keep in touch with the employee, regardless of the road forward, to see if he or she has improved.

If you observe an improvement in an employee’s behavior or performance output, let them know – even if it’s a fundamental expectation. Let’s imagine you noticed a worker being unprepared for meetings with clients in the last few meetings, but over the last few conferences, this individual has been on schedule and prepared. You may put it this way:

For both meetings, I noted you were on schedule and quite well prepared. Keep doing what you’re doing because this is precisely what we’re searching for. What steps did you accomplish to bring this about? “How do you think the meetings went?

 

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