Managing Remote Employees

Many organizations are now granting remote opportunities to their employees for the first time. While this is becoming the new normal for many, questions are arising about how to effectively manage and motivate remote employees and how to promote work-life balance.

By utilizing the following key aspects, you will be able to build a foundation of a strong trusting environment and enhance productivity among teleworking employees.

There are three main questions employers should ask themselves while managing working remotely: 

    1. Do my employees have the tools they need to do their jobs remotely?
    2. How do I know my employees are being productive?
    3. What impact does remote work have on productivity?
  1. Home office setup and tools/resources: Provide a computer, phone, and access to IT support. Make sure the employee recognizes the importance of a quiet work environment that is separated from the “home environment” (kids, pets, roommates, distractions, etc.). Consider HIPAA and PHI guidance, where applicable, to stay in compliance and avoid high penalties. Telework policies should be implemented.
  1. Establish clear work expectations: Set daily or weekly goals/tasks, implement time management techniques, establish consistent work schedules, and set up recurring remote team meetings to support, encourage and maintain the “human connection”. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to be able to stay connected with your team members on an individual basis.

Telecommuting productivity: A recent survey by Airtasker showed that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes, it also can increase productivity and lead to healthier lifestyles. However, it takes time and effort to find the right strategy to keep the business running smoothly despite the pandemic. For this reason, regular internal communication is fundamental to keeping your remote team productive. 

While productivity is key, there should also be a focus on maintaining a work-life balance.

Below are some practices employers can implement to ensure employees get the balance right:

  • Encourage employees to set boundaries: Some employees will feel the need to roll out of bed and immediately turn on their computers. Press them to set boundaries on when they start and end their days, for them and their clients (e.g. “I will be offline each day at 7:00 pm. If you need something, please email me and I will get back to you in the morning. If it is an emergency, then text me”). It is important at the end of the day for them to shut down their computer and turn off any notifications with work-related cellphone apps. 
  • Breaks are important: Make sure your team is taking breaks. Encourage them to block some time off in their calendar, take a couple of hours off, or a half-day off a couple of times a month, to focus on their wellness. Taking some time to relax can be perceived as a lazy or passive action; teach them to think of relaxation as “recovery” time which is more active and purposeful, hence meaningful and necessary. 
  • Lead by example: When employees see their supervisor working long hours, late at night or on the weekends, not setting boundaries, or not taking time off for personal interests, they will feel obligated to do the same. Be the example and inspiration to your employees. 
  • Ask your employees for suggestions: Create a survey to spot burnout and better understand where the gaps are to reach a perfect work-life balance. Simply asking your employees what would help to create a better work-life balance is often overlooked and yet can be a very powerful tool.

Have questions or need assistance? Contact HR Service Inc. at (801) 685-8400. We would be happy to help! 

Author: Sara Jacobs

Human Resources Business Partner

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