A Guide to Being an Effective Manager in a Remote Work Environment

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Managing a remote team often comes with challenges that don’t inherently exist in a traditional workplace. Additionally, many managers have only limited experience with overseeing telecommuting employees, and most may have had to figure out with COVID-19 looming over them. 

Thankfully, it is possible to effectively manage a remote work environment, even if the paradigm is entirely new to you and your workforce. If you want to make sure that your employees thrive, here are some tips that can help. 

Schedule Regular, But Unobtrusive, One-on-Ones 

One-on-one meetings are a must when your team is virtual. These video calls give you both a chance to discuss the employee’s progress and performance. Plus, you can gauge their stress levels, offer guidance, and provide personalized support. 

While one-on-ones are powerful, and should be on your schedule regularly, make sure they aren’t obtrusive. Suppose you’re asking every worker to give you 30 minutes a day. In that case, you could be doing more harm than good if your efforts are viewed as micromanaging or are making it hard for employees to handle their responsibilities in a timely manner. 

Usually, scheduling a weekly, hour-long video call is sufficient for standard check-ins. You can get a solid update and offer feedback, all without taking them away from their work too long. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Emoticons or Emoji 

Many people view emoticons and emoji as unprofessional, so they won’t include any in workplace communications. However, since it can be hard to gauge a person’s mood or tone when they express something in writing, using them can actually be a smart move. 

If you say something in jest in an email, chatroom, text, or messenger, consider adding an emoji to clarify that you’re joking. You can also add a smiley face when you express appreciation, making it a bit more impactful. 

Make Time for Socializing 

Bonding among team members (and managers) doesn’t usually happen in a solely professional context. Opportunities to socialize are often critical parts of the equation, allowing everyone to get to know each other on a different level. 

When a team is remote, socializing may not happen organically. As a result, managers need to find ways to work it into the experience. For example, by dedicating the first few minutes of every virtual meeting or phone call to catching up, you encourage casual chatting that can help everyone form stronger bonds. 

Continue with Career Progression Efforts 

Whether your team was always remote or recently transitioned due to COVID-19, make sure that career progression remains a priority. Helping your employees reach their professional goals is vital. Otherwise, what they may have thought was a temporary shift, placing advancement on the backburner to deal with pandemic-related emergencies, soon incorporates into your culture. In time, this could cause them to seek out opportunities elsewhere. 

While you may need to adapt your approach to career progression, make sure it’s a priority. Investing in your team’s growth is important. Not only does it make them more capable, but it also boosts retention and enhances morale. 

Call Our Team Today to Learn More 

In the end, managing a remote workforce may require a different approach. But, with the tips above, you can do it effectively. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at VB can help. Contact us today.