There are many guides for remote workers and companies that choose to let people work from home, but there aren’t many for the managers of remote workers. Here are a few tools and tips that can help you manage a remote team.
1. Retool Your Own Management Style
If you’re managing a remote team, you need to be adaptable and have master-level communication skills. Positivity in the face of negativity in the company, offering constructive rather than just negative criticism, and being approachable are all necessary managerial traits. Their importance becomes even more amplified when working with a remote team. Additionally, when working with remote teams, toss any idea of a nine-to- five work schedule out the window. Mastering phone and email communication becomes much more important, especially if your team is dispersed across time zones. You’ll be using email much more frequently, and the phone if you see those emails aren’t being answered or read.
2. Get the Tools You Need to Manage Employees Remotely
There are many reasons to start using Google’s suite of productivity apps (G Suite) for a remote work team. It offers enhanced collaboration, affordability, and better communication with essential features like real-time editing of documents. But if you’re managing remote workers, it’s also necessary to have certain amount of transparency into their activities without invading their privacy. Prodoscore is custom-built to enable managers to see how much time is spent in G Suite (including Gmail) and assigns a productivity score to each employee that helps you track
Through G Suite, you’ll already have access to shared calendars that show what appointments and meetings your remote workers have made, but Prodoscore gives you much more than that. You’ll get daily email alerts of everyone’s score, and be able to log in to Prodoscore to view their activities in real time.
3. Get Boomerang for Gmail
Since you’ll be using email more frequently, you’ll need something to help supercharge your use of it. Boomerang is a free tool which can be installed in Chrome. It allows you to see if someone has read your email, schedule emails to be sent later, and more. It’s indispensable to managing remote workers. For example, you can set rules so that if an email isn’t read in a certain amount of time, it will be forwarded again. You may want to recommend it to your team as well.
4. Be Proactive About Getting Things Done
If you’re using G Suite and Prodoscore, you’ll be able to see right away if a particular employee is having an issue. This will allow you to get on top of any minor issues before they become major problems, and will make you a more efficient manager.
Another way to stay proactive is to have a team call or video conference at the start and end of each week, giving employees a structure for the week as well as an opportunity to ask questions or address concerns. If you have G Suite, you can do this through Google Hangouts and record the conference, so that employees who can’t make the call can review it later.
5. Be Clear About Goals, Expectations and Rewards
Employees work better in a structured environment, and remote workers need this even more than those who are working from an office. On your weekly calls, make sure you’re measuring progress towards goals, and be prepared to step in if your workers hit any kind of logjams, such as clients not getting back to them or similar issues. You should also have an employee review program set up in which rewards and expectations are laid out clearly. For example, requiring a certain amount of deliverables or goals achieved. If you choose to use Prodoscore, this will help you in employee evaluations, as it will provide additional insight into their activities.