Managing Smart: How Can I Ensure My Team Members Are Working Productively Remotely?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The pandemic has changed our workplace forever. Although we will reopen our campuses this fall and many employees will return to in-person work, others will continue to work remotely or in a hybrid environment. So how do you ensure your team members are working productively from home and not just working at home? Follow these tips:

Establish Clear Expectations
One of the best ways to ensure you and your employees are on the same page is to establish clear expectations. Determine and share what is and is not acceptable during the workday. For example, can employees take lunch at their leisure, or is there a schedule? Do you have a shared calendar for all employees to enter their work hours, breaks and vacation/sick days? What communication methods are best?

Additionally, human resources predictive intelligence company ProSky recommends in its article, “8 Tips to Ensure Productivity When Employees Work from Home,” letting employees know how often you’d like them to check in — such as at the end of a workday, on a daily basis, once a week or once a month.

Don’t Micromanage
When you’re not in a physical office with your employees, it can be easy to assume they are not working, and you may be tempted to check Skype for for that little green available checkmark or Zoom to see if their video is turned on.

According to the Indeed.com article, “11 Tips to Effectively Manage Remote Employees,” this can quickly lead to micromanaging, which can be stressful for both parties and make employees feel like they are not trusted to do their work. Instead, Indeed recommends focusing on outcomes and goals rather than visible activity and hours worked. If the work is getting done, and they are accessible when needed and expected, their style may not be important.

And, if you’re still tempted to look if they’re available on Skype or if their Zoom video is turned on, remember that internet connections may result in an inaccurate Skype status and affect Zoom video sharing. You wouldn’t penalize an employee if the internet was down on campus, so it doesn’t make sense to do so remotely. Plus, employees may be completing work that doesn’t require being online, resulting in another inaccurate Skype status.

Focus on Outcomes
Working remotely is more than just being in front of your computer screen. It’s about delivering a work product.

Empower your employees by focusing on outcomes, rather than engagements. Brent Gleason, founder and CEO of TakingPoint Leadership, suggests in the Forbes.com article, “13 Tips for Leading and Managing Remote Teams” clearly defining the goals and desired results, and then allowing employees to develop a plan of execution. As part of those goals, set deadlines as well. Then periodically check in with your team members to see how they’re progressing toward the goals.

Trust Your Team
It’s important to trust that your team members will complete their work. To develop trust, build a relationship with your employees. Get to know them (or continue to grow your relationship) like you would in an in-person setting. What are their hobbies and career interests? What did they do last weekend? Learning about your employees helps establish rapport and trust.

To do this, set aside time for a regular Check-In with each of your team members at least once a month. Talk as you would at the break room, then check in on their goals and allow employees to ask questions, discuss concerns and feedback and share ideas.

To begin your discussion, you may try these conversation starters shared by Gregory Alch, a licensed psychologist and organization consultant from the Optum Employee Assistance (EAP) Program, during our recent supervisor session,  “Managing Employees’ Fear and Anxiety.”

For more information, be sure to check out the Supervisor Summer Series workshop, “Supervising Employees Your Cannot See” on Friday, July 16, 2021, at 10 a.m. Register on the Valencia EDGE.

For questions contact Organizational Development and Human Resources at HR4U@valenciacollege.edu, or call the HR4U helpline at 407-299-5000, extension HR4U (4748).

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