Managing Remote Workers

Many managers do not get training on management. It is one thing to manage workers you can talk with face to face. It is a whole other thing to manage workers remotely.

It involves Trust, Communication, Expectations, Accountability and Obstacle Removal.

The best managers understand that their main job is to remove obstacles so people can just do their jobs. That’s hard to do if the manager (A) does not really know what his employees do; and (B) does not have an open dialogue with the team.

Trust is about letting your people perform. It comes from Hiring Well, on-boarding, setting expectations and over-communicating.

We have so many tools for communicating: texts, email, voice calls, video calls, conferencing, collaboration tools — so why is it so hard to communicate with your team and manage them? Because it takes work. And you have to set aside pettiness, bias, and your own selfishness to do it.

There are tools to track progress. There are tools to track activity (and undermine privacy).

Really though, if you communicate the expectations clearly and concisely, things do get done. It is when expectations are not set nor are they clearly communicated do things fall apart. It is always about Communications. Despite all the tools we have to communicate, people still have a challenge being clear and concise – especially clear.

In the end, managers need to set clear expectations, communicate regularly, ask good questions, remove obstacles and trust the employees.

Some more resources for managers…

Tips for managing remote workers (from RNG) (from BambooHR)

GapingVoid writes: “Remote working tends to shift the emphasis from verbal communication to written communication. As handy as Skype and Zoom are, nobody wants to spend six hours a day on them. Be ready and act accordingly.”

“Culture happens in the spaces between people,” Mark Earls. It takes extra effort to maintain Culture remotely. Remember that Culture is every action – who you hire, who you promote. Act accordingly.

Guide to Internal Communications from the makers of Basecamp.

Book on managing remote workers by Jason Fried: Remote: Office Not Required

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