How to effectively manage your staff remotely

two people meeting

As work changes on a global scale, we have in one sense, been forced into the future of work. It’s a future where work is often location agnostic, and where the core focus is on outcomes to keep organisations moving boldly forwards.  

A number of workplaces already offer flexible/mobile-working arrangements to attract staff. Great staff know how to make flexible arrangements work and that’s why they’re great staff. These are employees who can pick up their device, plonk themselves down pretty much anywhere, and offer plenty of productivity.

Robert Walters offers tops tips as guidance for management looking to adapt to the modern working lifestyle, overcome concerns around flexi-working and to better manage their workforce remotely. 

Changing from behaviour-based to outcome-based assessment

On a day-to-day basis, managing remote working requires a move from behaviour-based monitoring to outcome based mindset. Instead of solely assessing performance according to what an employee is seen to be doing, managers should take their output or other deliverables into account and establish an environment of mutual trust.

Devising innovative alternatives to face-to-face communication

Flexible working can create communication challenges, as employees may feel less connection with each other. This can lead to a lower sense of belonging. Apart from specifying a set time of the week when the team can get together, we also advise managers to use alternative tools such as instant messaging and virtual meetings to foster communication.

It is vitally important that with the growth of a virtual workforce comes the need to maintain to make time to get in those online face-to-face catch ups. If managers do not take the time to carry out face-to-face online catch ups the silence can become very loud and dangerous with remote employees second guessing their performance. Take the time to schedule in video catch ups to reassure and guide your workforce to ensure maximum productivity. 

Use alternative tools such as instant messaging and virtual meetings to foster communication.

Create an open culture of flexibility

Companies should also create a culture where employees do not feel they will be disadvantaged by flexible working arrangements. Some new joiners may struggle to learn if their manager or team members are not around. Managers are strongly recommended discussing flexible working arrangements openly with all team members to ensure that everyone is treated equally.

Beware of ‘burn-out’

With the use of mobile devices, the line between work and private life is blurring. Managers are advised to conduct reviews to ensure remote working employees are not working excessively as this can lead to high stress level and ‘burn-out’. Signs to look out for are a reduction in productivity/output, uncharacteristic detachment and increased cynicism or complaining.



Find out more on the impact of workplace flexibility on productivity, engagement and diversity.

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