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Managing People When Working Remotely

Ten Tips for Managers

  1. Establish regular check-ins. Check-ins should be a regular part of your schedule and can occur with individuals and groups. Keep in mind that some people might require more contact than others so schedule check-ins accordingly (e.g. daily, bi-weekly, weekly).
  2. Set clear expectations and goals. Gallup reports that employees with clear goals and responsibilities delineated from their managers are more engaged in the workplace. Assign specific responsibilities to each staff and ensure expectations are concrete and measurable.
  3. Maintain consistent communication. When communicating with staff, keep in mind what method(s) they prefer. Additionally, if you have something important or sensitive to share, consider a phone call over an email. Encourage staff to ask questions to ensure clarity. The more communication, the better.
  4. Create dedicated office space and encourage staff to do so as well. Having a home office is essential for productivity. If you are going to work in a space for 8+ hours per day, it should be comfortable. A dedicated space also helps to separate yourself from distractions in your home.
  5. Set and honor time boundaries. It is important to follow sound time management principles, especially when confined to your home. Set aside time to distance yourself from work and set start and stop times for different activities. Also, keep in mind a remote workforce can be separated by time zones. Pay attention to time zones when scheduling meetings.
  6. Focus on outcomes, not activity. When assigning work, make sure expected outcomes are clear. Hold staff accountable to meeting outcomes and achieving the desired results, rather than checking off tasks or clocking in for certain periods of time.
  7. Form routines and encourage staff to do so as well. Routines increase efficiency. Create a consistent workday routine. Identify priorities for each day and each week and focus on achieving those priorities. But be sure to build in break time and move around periodically.
  8. Maintain relationships with colleagues and staff. Take steps to maintain relationships. Go out of your way to form personal bonds and provide emotional support. When you’re on the phone, be an active listener. Focus on the conversation and don’t try to multitask.
  9. Encourage humor. It is proven that humor reduces stress, improves health, and increases productivity. In a group meeting, allow time for team members to briefly share something. Keep it professional and insert humor when appropriate.
  10. Beware of stress and burnout. During this time, be aware of social isolation and take steps to overcome it. Take care of your health and encourage your staff to do the same. Balance your workload, don’t try to do it all at once. Organize your day/week intentionally, and adjust appropriately to address priorities.