While you’re probably sick of hearing about it, the pandemic affected many aspects of modern work life. Lockdowns and furlough forced people to adapt. For example, companies and employees are adopting alternative ways of working such as working from home or a hybrid model. Some companies are going that step further by promoting flexible working policies as an essential step in recruiting and retaining staff. So, in the post-covid world, it’s looking more likely that the skill in managing remote teams is vital. In this blog, we will be talking about the key steps you need to follow to manage remote workers, and we will be using tech companies as an example.
How can a Manager effectively Manage Remote Teams?
- Talk to your team – Find out what works best for them. What communication lines do they prefer Zoom / telephone? How frequent do they want team meetings? Agree a plan to remote working that is suitable for everyone.
- Review the policies and processes regular to ensure that these still fit with what works best for the company and the team.
- Set expectations. If you communicate clearly with your team what is needed from them, they can understand and communicate back how goals can be achieved.
- Make sure the team have all the resources they need.
- Have regular meetings as a team and 1-2-1s.
- Be open with the team. Provide relevant information and keep everyone in the loop.
- Listen to any concerns and approach these actively. Understand that remote working can be difficult and talk about suggestions and try to implement these if appropriate.
- Provide any necessary training.
Tech Sector Example
If a tech company’s employees work from home 3 days a week and 2 days in the office, they will need clear communication on how this will work for example if a group of people in on certain days and the other group will never physically see the other group then regular meetings can be set up to ensure that all departments of the tech company meet. They will also need the tech behind the scenes such as a portable laptop so that they can easily move from office and home and then clients if necessary.
Managing remote teams in every sector, including tech (even if they are up to date with all the latest software and gadgets), is also about the team and the person adapting to the new working practises.
What Employees Can Do
- Set up a designated work area where there is enough light, not too much noise and enough space in which you complete your role.
- Make sure you have all the technology and resources needed to complete the role. This includes laptops, files, and a secure Wi-Fi connection.
- Know when to step away. Ensure that you have regular breaks and do not confuse home life with work life. It is important to distinguish between the two and switch off from work when you finish your allocated hours.
- Have regular conversations with your team / manager. Talk about what you are doing / updates on the company / what the upcoming tasks are or even what funny thing your dog did yesterday! Ensuring that communication lines are kept open and people feel involved is essential.
- Ask for support. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean your manager isn’t there to support you – just the opposite. They are there to support you even more. Working from home requires team work and flexibility which is based on a secure support system.
What Employers Must Do
There are some legalities that a company should consider when remote working is implemented and companies are managing remote teams. These are:
- Review your homeworking policy and ensure that it includes how and when employees will be supervised, what is expected of them, the homeworking agreements, how performance is measured and what to do if employees have any concerns.
- Amend the Handbook or Contracts – If there is a change to the place of work clause in an employment contract then ensure you provide an addendum and get the employee to sign this in agreement.
- Confirm with employees their rights. They should not be discriminated against and should be treated the same as every other employee. For example, they should be provided the opportunity for promotion the same as an office based employee so any roles should also be communicated to them not just on a notice board in the office.
- Work out with the employee who is to cover extra costs such as landline or WiFi bills and put this in writing.
- Ensure that Health and Safety is a priority and regulations are being adhered to. A homeworking risk assessment should be completed along with any other risk assessments such as DSE. Make the employee aware of the H&S policy and their obligations.
- Ensure that Working Time regulations are still adhered to even when employees are working from home. Set hours and breaks need to be adhered to.
Do you need support?
Wurkplace can help you in a number of ways. We offer HR support and advice to businesses managing remote workers all the time, and offer leadership training, performance management and more… Do you need support managing remote teams? Get in touch. We have experts waiting to help! You can contact us by using our quick online contact form, or by giving us a call on: 0330 400 5490.
Currently practising all the aspects of Human Resources including employee rights, discrimination, how to manage grievances and disciplinaries.