How to Keep Track of Remote Employees Without Sabotaging TrustWritten by InvoiceBerry Team on December 16, 2020
Before the pandemic, remote working was a privilege for only some people around the world, but since its inception, many companies have had to make this transition from full time to remote working.
Due to a sudden shift and lack of preparedness, many companies are grappling to adjust to the new ecosystem.
We can all agree that working from home is not the same as working from the office. As senior executives, it isn’t easy to do all the back and forth, and make sure that the work is done on time. And as employees or in junior positions, it’s difficult keeping up with the workload and working in a completely new environment.
As CEOs, it’s perhaps the most difficult because they need to make sure that their employees are doing the work properly and in the same spirit as they would while working from the office.
It’s difficult not to lose trust in remote employees and keep track of them while not seeming like you’re invading their space. Let’s take a look at how you can tackle the situation, ensure things are running smoothly, and your business is growing.
1. Use project management tools to keep track of remote employees
With remote working, all communication is done through laptops and mobile phones, but does it mean that you need to call every employee every day or hold long meetings to manage their daily tasks?
Here, project management software can save you a lot of time going back and forth, and will also keep things organized in one place. These tools let you set tasks, assign it to a particular person, mention details to keep in mind while doing the task, and even set a deadline for the same.
This way, it’s convenient for you to track, and for the employee doing the task because as they near the deadline, the application will keep giving them reminders.
You can use a tool like Trello or Monday.com for project management and a communication channel like Slack so that all work-related talk is in one place and the channels are solely dedicated to office discussions.
2. Schedule regular updates on tasks
Repeatedly calling your employees to see if they’re online and on their desk is not the right way to handle remote working. If you want them to work properly, you need to have some faith and keep track of work progress the right way.
Ideally, you can make a Google sheet and ask your employees to update it every 2-3 hours. For this, you can set a Google alert or calendar alert, so they know what time they need to turn in an update.
It’s better than scheduling recurring meetings, which take up a lot of time. This way, they get more time to patiently complete the tasks while maintaining the quality of work than feeling pressured to answer a call every 2 hours.
Such a change cannot happen overnight, so you need to inculcate time tracking in your office workflow, so the employees get used to it.
3. Don’t micromanage
As an employer, you must keep up with regular checks and make sure your team is working full time even while working remotely. But, if you unnecessarily check upon them all the time or take extreme measures like tracking their internet usage or team activity, you may be going a little overboard.
Yes, you want them to work at full capacity, but working from home is not so easy given you can be easily distracted with the things going on at home.
Sometimes, there may be uncalled situations that they need their attention or family obstructions, which hinders their ability to carry out tasks effectively.
This is why you need to give them some space and let them manage individual tasks on their own. Micromanaging will not only take up your time and energy but will also cut off their working team and cause annoyance.
So, it’s better to be understanding and have some faith in your employees by not intruding and at the same time not leaving everything on them. Ideally, you need to strike a healthy balance.
4. Set team meetings in advance and at regular intervals
Remote employees need to work out a schedule where they are working for the office, completing their tasks, and making sure that anything happening at home does not disrupt their work schedule.
Keeping this in mind, scheduling short-notice meetings unless urgent is not viable and can cause a problem in the standard workflow.
Instead, you can set team meetings in advance, and share the meeting agenda so that everyone comes prepared.
They can block 1 hour and schedule their day accordingly, thus ensuring that they’re fully present during the meeting and the tasks don’t suffer.
5. Use video and schedule one-on-one sessions
Remote working is not as easy as it sounds. While it comes with the comfort of working from your home, it also comes with an added responsibility for managing personal and professional tasks. With this, the need to be empathetic, and understanding stands at the highest.
Employee wellness is an essential part of effective business functioning. Only when your employees are free of problems and stress can they work at maximum potential, ultimately, helping your business grow.
Take out time, say bi-weekly, to talk one-on-one with your employees. This can be a small session of 15 minutes where you listen to the problems they’re facing with remote working or any other difficulty which is disrupting their normal flow of work.
This will help you gain a better understanding of what’s going on the other side, and will give your employee a much-needed morale boost to work effectively.
A professional relationship reaps a positive impact only when both parties are expressive and understanding. Ultimately, it’s your team taking forward your business with collective efforts, and thus, it’s your team that needs to be understood if something is not working out.
6. Ask for the end of the day report summary
If your team is working on multiple tasks, it’s easy to lose track of what all they did during the day, so taking the end of the day report summaries can help a lot in reflecting the day’s achievements and obstacles.
These reports can help you understand where the team is facing problems and what more they need to work on for achieving predetermined targets.
You can either have a written report summary or a short team meeting to ensure there are no misunderstandings, things are running smoothly, and everything is being validated. You can end the day on a pleasant note with feedback, and anything that you feel may motivate the employees to work better.
It’s hardly feasible for you to check up on and keep track of remote employees every hour and to supervise them to an extent where it causes more harm than good.
A balance is required with remote working, and the new tools in this area have made it relatively easier to maintain this balance.
When you’re not working physically, and digital communication is all you can rely on, communication and transparency hold a lot of significance. So, make sure that you maintain a good rapport with your employees and have patience while dealing with them.
While it’s difficult to maintain trust like this, it’s necessary to have some faith in them and inculcate a culture of accountability that can help make the team more self-reliable.
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.