A managerial role is always challenging, but when leading a team of remote workers that you’ve never met before, that challenge intensifies and managers have to upskill or educate themselves on the best way to approach these unique challenges in order to be inclusive, understanding, and a great leader.
There are a few things that a manager can do in order to connect with their team as long as they are willing to put in the effort.
Communication is always the key to building a successful team
According to a study by Buffer, communication was the most significant challenge reported by remote workers. To avoid ambiguous or misunderstood messages, there should be very clear communication channels and it doesn’t always boil down to a two-way communication platform. Having a bulletin board of sorts to highlight what is expected to be done with clear instructions can also serve the purpose of maintaining a clear line of communication.
Employees that are unsure of what to do next or who to contact in case of questions can look at those bulletin boards and figure out their next steps. But of course, having a messenger tool is crucial for every company.
According to a study by Gallup, remote workers who receive regular feedback and goal setting are more engaged and productive. Managers should set clear goals and expectations for remote workers, track their progress, and provide feedback regularly. Using performance metrics and feedback can help to identify areas of improvement and celebrate successes.
There’s no confidence without trust
Trust and empowerment are also key fundamentals of managing a remote workforce. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, trust is essential for remote teams to be successful. Managers should trust their remote workers to complete their work independently and empower them to make decisions.
Giving remote workers autonomy and flexibility can help to increase their job satisfaction and motivation. Regular check-ins and progress reports can help managers monitor work progress and ensure that remote workers are meeting their goals. Remote workers who feel socially connected are more likely to stay with their company long-term.
Managers can facilitate team building and social interaction with the help of technology. Some companies have a weekly newsletter to highlight on birthdays and achievements which make employees feel seen.
When people feel seen, they generally apply themselves more because they feel like they matter and they will want to perform to the best of their ability.
Using the appropriate tools and guidelines to manage a remote workforce
Aside from ensuring that remote workers have the necessary tools to complete their work effectively, providing them with resources and tools can also facilitate success. Managers should help remote workers to set boundaries between work and personal life and encourage them to take breaks and manage their time effectively – a time tracking software can help with this.
Learn about your employees culture
Cultural sensitivity and inclusion are important for managing a diverse team of remote workers. According to a study, remote workers come from a variety of cultural and demographic backgrounds. Managers should be aware of cultural differences and strive to create an inclusive work environment. This includes respecting cultural norms, promoting diversity, and providing resources for remote workers from different backgrounds.
When employers or supervisors are able to implement these practices it should be easy to establish rapport with employees and manage them with much more efficiency. At the end of the day, it is important to put in effort and try to put yourself in their shoes and treat them with respect and help them succeed in their roles.