How to Manage Employees Remotely

Remote blog x1

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the UK, many businesses have faced significant disruption. Lockdown and social distancing measures mean that only employees deemed as ‘essential’ should be leaving their home to go to work.

These measures are in place to slow the spread of the virus so that the NHS can cope with the pandemic, provide better care to those infected and protect vulnerable people.

We cannot stress enough the importance of adhering to these rules. Businesses have a duty to ensure the safety of their staff and asking non-essential members of staff to travel into the workplace is not only unfair but irresponsible.

Many companies have adapted to our new reality by asking employees to work from home, minimising disruption to their business whilst keeping their staff safe.

Before the pandemic, an estimated 13% of employees in the UK were already working from home, so many businesses might still be unfamiliar with the practice.

If you’re managing a remote team for the first time, here are some simple steps that will set you on the right track.


Make sure you set clear goals and expectations

When you’re working remotely, you need to make sure your expectations and goals are crystal clear. Make sure everyone knows what their priorities should be and check in with them for updates.

Try setting up some basic ground rules for everyone, such as sticking to their normal working pattern. This will ensure that you know when your team are available, they have a routine to stick to and don’t end up overworking or letting things slide.


Communication is key 

Poor communication can make working from home hectic and stressful for everyone involved.

How often you communicate with your staff, and how you do it, will vary depending on your management style. You may prefer to have small catch-ups daily or a lengthier one-to-one once a week.

We’d suggest that you aim to have at least one conference call per week with the whole team to let everybody give an update on their progress and for you to reiterate the team’s goals.

We’d also recommend making sure that everyone is using the same apps, platforms and software. Try designating platforms for specific tasks as this will keep everyone’s work streamlined.


Try to use video calls

Although you might not be comfortable with video calls, they can be a great solution for combatting feelings of loneliness or isolation. Our colleagues are a big part of our daily lives and while we might not get on with all of them, not seeing each other every day can have a big impact.

We’re not suggesting that you make every call a video call but having a semi-regular meeting to see each other can lift spirits.

Just give your team some warning before asking them to turn on the camera as no one wants to be caught in their PJs or working from a messy environment.


Trust your team  

Having your team working from home does require that you trust them to get on with their jobs and not end up watching TV or doing the hoovering.

It can be tricky to let go if you’ve never managed a team remotely, but you will need to resist the urge to micro-manage. The direct supervision that you have in the workplace is impossible at home and constantly bothering your team will not only annoy them but hinder their productivity.


Try planning some virtual social events

Socialising can be a big part of workplace culture and although we’re confined to our homes for the foreseeable future, you should still try to socialise as a team if that’s something you usually do.

If Friday night drinks are your thing, why not try hosting these on a video conferencing app? You could also create your own pub quiz or play online games together.

Even if all you’re doing is sitting having a chat over a cuppa or a beer, it’s important to stay connected socially as well as for work purposes – you know what they say about all work and no play!


This situation isn’t going to last forever so try to treat the need to work remotely as a business experiment. If it goes well it could lead to new opportunities for the way your company works in the future.


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Posted on April 24, 2020