Advances in technology and a stronger emphasis on work-life balance have made working remotely more commonplace for all sorts of businesses. However, supervising a work from home employee can be a unique challenge. Here are four key tips on how to be prepared for the new working situation.
1. Setting Expectations
Remote jobs vary from business to business. In some cases, hours are set in stone, while others involve projects that can be done at any time of the day. Before allowing an employee to work remotely, it is vital that both the employee and manager understand how many hours will be worked and how they will be recorded. This may require keeping time records or checking in on an employee daily to ensure they meet availability standards, as well as designing a communication system in which the employee can report and request time off.
2. Building Communication
When managing a work from home employee, it can be easy to simply rely on emails or instant messages to communicate back and forth. However, nothing replaces the in-person meeting for updating status reports, building manager-to-worker relationships, ensuring that employees are on the same page, or giving worker feedback. Instead of conveying important communication via the impersonal email, hold regularly scheduled meetings. This can be done through phone calls, video conferences, or even regular visits in-person.
3. Forget Micromanaging
Micromanaging, or not giving employees sufficient autonomy, is extremely common for managers of remote employees. The problem is that it conveys a level of mistrust to the employee. Instead of virtually looking over the work from home employee’s shoulder, instead give the worker the space to build their own work system. This includes trusting that their hours are spent effectively regardless of what time of day the employee completes the project.
4. Tracking Goals and Objectives
A work from home employee should be treated just as a regular office worker in that they must have goals, objectives, and projects set for them. Performance objectives work both ways in that it allows a manager to measure success while giving the worker something to aspire to. Communicating and agreeing on these objectives and goals can also help in terms of giving effective and regular feedback to the worker.
Managing Employees No Matter Their Location
Facing the unknown with an employee that is not physically present can be intimidating. However, with some changes to the management style, expectations and work standards, and the performance objectives, managing a work from home employee can be an effective and valuable relationship between the employee and the worker.