8 Essential Tips For Managing Remote Employees (Without Micro-Management!)

There was a 159% increase in remote workers between 2005 and 2017. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay home, more people are working remotely than ever before. This sudden shift has encouraged many managers to change their leadership style accordingly.

Are you managing remote employees for the first time? It’s important to learn how to lead your team without micromanaging; otherwise, you could do more harm than good.

Here are eight essential tips for managing a remote workforce. With these tips, you can keep your entire team happy, motivated, and productive. 

Read on!

1. Use Videos to Connect

Working remotely can turn a once talkative team into a group of people who only communicate by email. If you’re accustomed to speaking with your team every day, managing a remote workforce can feel like a major shift.

How can you gauge everyone’s moods and reactions if you never get to see their faces? Hosting regular video chats is a great way to connect with your team. 

Zoom now has 12.92 million monthly active users. That’s a 21% increase since the end of 2019. You can also use Skype, Google Hangouts, and other free solutions to chat with your team. 

Don’t let connectivity issues keep you from speaking with your team. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on non-verbal clues in emails to gauge everyone’s emotional state. 

By hosting regular video chats, you can connect with your team members and learn how to manage your employees long-distance. Failing to connect regularly, however, might cause you to miss a small problem before it becomes a bigger one. 

2. Catch Up With Small Talk

You can also gauge your team members’ emotional states by making time for small talk.

While managing a remote workforce, you might feel the need to focus solely on work. Though productivity is important, it’s also essential to build a rapport with every individual member of your workforce. 

How are they doing? How is working remotely treating them? Do they have any concerns?

Small talk is a great chance for you to catch up with your team members. It can also help you work through problems as a team. At the same time, you get the chance to show your team that you’re there to help. 

Otherwise, your team members might not feel comfortable speaking up.

As you begin managing remote employees, work on establishing trust with each of them. You can’t build a rapport by discussing work. Instead, take the time for small talk to learn about each team member. 

3. Convey Emotion With Fun Gifs

Remember, your remote team will need to rely on a lot of non-verbal forms of communication, like email and chat. Unfortunately, some messages can seem aggressive, even if unintentionally.

Avoid miscommunicating emotions by using fun gifs along with your messages. If someone does a good job, praise them with a thumbs up gif. A gif might do a better job of conveying emotions than a bland email can. 

Try rereading your messages before you send them, too. How does it sound aloud?

4. Take Time for One-on-Ones

While it’s important to learn how to manage remote employees as a team, you also need to remember they’re all individuals. Take the time to schedule one-on-ones with each member of your team. 

Don’t wait for your employees to come to you. Instead, dedicate at least 30 minutes each week to one member of your team. Let them know you’re prepared to discuss anything that’s on your minds. 

There are some situations your team members won’t want to discuss with the team. Letting your employees know they can speak with you privately is important, especially while you’re working remotely. Otherwise, problems might start to build and fester without you realizing it. 

Take the time to create a list of questions to ask during your one-on-ones, too. Ask your employees how you can better support them individually. You might realize something’s missing in your remote work model that you didn’t realize before. 

You can use these tips to establish the best remote development team for your business.

5. Avoid Canceling Talks

Once you start scheduling one-on-ones, don’t cancel them. 

Remember, your remote team members are probably missing out on a lot of office updates. Don’t assume they know what’s going on in the background. Instead, take the time to make brief announcements and regular updates.

That way, they know why you have to reschedule your one-on-ones.

While it’s okay to reschedule, don’t cancel. Otherwise, you might unintentionally make it seem like you don’t value those discussions. 

6. Understand Everyone’s Schedules

When managing remote employees, take the time to recognize that not everyone is working in the same time zone. Sometimes, matching everyone’s schedules can become a challenge. You might have one employee who has to join a call during an awkward early or late hour. 

Try to schedule your calls at a time that works for everyone. If that isn’t possible, remind yourself that one of your team members is making a sacrifice. Empathize with that employee and remain grateful for the sacrifice they’re making. 

7. Consider Everyone’s Goals

Remember, every member of your remote team is an individual person. They all have their own goals and career paths. If you’ve hired them on as an employee, make sure to treat them like an employee. 

Viewing your remote team as contractors can stall their goals and career path. Instead, give your team members, remote or not, an opportunity to grow.

Treating your team members as individuals will help your business grow, too. 

If it’s been a while, ask about your employee’s career goals during a one-on-one meeting. 

8. Send Some Swag

Want to show your appreciation for your remote team’s hard work? Consider sending them some fun swag!

A little swag can remind your remote team members that they are in fact part of the team. You can also send swag to their family members. Have your remote team members send photos of everyone wearing their swag to unite your team.

Managing Without Micromanaging: 8 Essential Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Ready to start managing remote employees? With these eight tips, you can bring your team together without micromanaging. By learning how to manage your employees, you can create a happy, productive team ready to boost your business. 

Searching for more helpful business tips? Explore the Business section of the blog today!