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How to Manage Remote Workers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies around the world have asked their employees to work remotely. While remote work has been prevalent in the tech industry for quite some time, not all companies were doing it until now. This means that many business owners have to figure out how to work out of the office and without each other for the first time.

While it’s great to have already established remote work policies, in times like these, most companies simply don’t have the time. If your company is one of those, don’t worry, there is plenty you can still do to make sure your remote employees are happy and productive. Stick around as we’ll be sharing some of the tips that can help you lead your company in this new reality.

Introduce Structured Check-Ins for All Employees

Many successful managers that manage remote employees have established weekly or daily check-in meetings with all of their employees. The check-in can either be one-on-one, if your employees are working independently or with an entire team if the work your employees do is more collaborative. Just make sure that these calls are regularly occurring. Talk to your employees and make sure that they know that the check-ins also exist so that they can consult with you and that you’ll be there to answer any questions or concerns they may have.

Provide Your Employees With Multiple Lines of Communication

By having multiple different ways to reach you, your employees will feel less stressed when trying to reach you. No matter if you prefer emails, phone calls, instant messaging or any other communication channel, your employees are likely going to be more inclined to talk to you if there is more than one way to reach you.

Establish How You Want Your Employees to Communicate With You

Remote employees tend to be more satisfied and efficient when you, as their manager, are able to set expectations for the time, means and frequency of communication. If you prefer to use video chat for the daily check-in but instant messaging or email for something urgent – tell them that. If you prefer a specific time for your employees to reach you, share that time with them. All of this ensures your employees know that you’ll be there for them when needed.

Make Sure Your Employees Track Their Time

As someone managing remote employees, you have to keep track of them, and that can be a challenge, especially if you have introduced more flexible work schedules now that everyone is remote. To keep track of remote employees, remote companies are using time tracking software which is designed to ensure employees are actually doing the work they are being paid to do.

In addition to time tracking software, make sure you set tasks with deadlines, distribute those tasks to multiple people in a team and make sure they regularly get reminded about the due dates.

Introduce Fun Ways for Everyone to Communicate With Each Other

Remote workers sometimes tend to feel lonely or isolated. To make sure this doesn’t happen to your employees, create structured ways for them to interact with each other about non-work related topics. All remote workers can feel isolated and lonely, but it’s particularly relevant in those that stopped working from their office suddenly.

One of the easiest ways to introduce non-work conversations with your employees is to simply take some time out of each team meeting to catch up. If you are using Slack or other instant messaging apps, you can create non-work channels where all of your employees can talk to each other. While these types of interactions may sound forced or even artificial, most remote managers swear by them as it was proven that they reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness among remote workers while at the same time promote a sense of belonging to a group.

Final Takeaways

Employees tend to look at how their managers are reacting to crisis situations or unexpected changes. This is especially relevant today when millions of people are facing such transformative events. While it’s most likely your first time dealing with remote work, you got this.

At times it may feel that everything is great, but you’ll get through this. What’s most important right now is to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Be there for everyone and let your employees know you got their back.

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