6 Best Ways to Manage Your Remote SME Employees

Managing remote employees effectively takes a significant mental leap, especially for managers with conventional mindsets.


Corporate leaders accustomed to assessing employee productivity based on their "desk time" and outward signs of work could find the change to remote work cumbersome. Likewise, employees may experience initial confusion as they get used to changes in their daily schedules.

Indeed, I can see why.

Even though everyone appears to understand what "work from home" means, not everyone has done it. And working remotely does have advantages and disadvantages. 

Since the rising trend of remote work will stay, leaders should also become familiar with work-from-home best practices and prepare for some level of trial and error. Here are seven fundamental pointers to help you manage remote employees efficiently. 

1. Understand Typical Issues With Working From Home

Managers and business owners typically face four major challenges when managing remote employees

  • Distractions from the environment 

Distractions appear to be a part of remote work, whether a fellow coffee shop patron is unintentionally spilling coffee over or a toddler shouting during a zoom conference from the living room.

  • Exhaustion from video conferences

On the other hand, relying solely on Zoom to facilitate connections might result in adverse effects. Give workers the freedom to choose whether or not they wish to appear on camera during internal meetings and as a team. 

Unless client-facing, requiring cameras at all times can lower morale and is just another pointless attempt to micromanage and control what staff do.

  • Having little face time with managers and colleagues

The working culture and workplace interactions depend heavily on face-to-face encounters. Virtual teams may feel a lack of in-person interaction. To boost employee engagement and socialisation among remote team members, consider using collaboration tools like RosterElf. 

  • Insufficiencies in communication

We can't check the cubicle or sneak down the corridor to check whether a colleague or supervisor is there to answer a quick query. Additionally, despite their convenience, emails and slack messages occasionally get missed. 

Managers may assist in resolving these problems by setting examples for good communication practices.

Patience is a virtue, provided these events don't become frequent, especially when using remote work as a temporary fix for an urgent problem.

2. Choose and Provide the Right Software

Making the right tools accessible to your remote employees is crucial to managing them. Leaders and teams may have to consider what measures should be taken to make the transition easier. 

The same access to resources used by onsite workers is required for remote employees, which may include:

  • Handbook of policies and procedures

  • Presentation tools and materials

  • Postal equipment and stationery

  • Applications & Software programs

  • Company credit card

Most remote work can be completed with only a computer, internet connectivity, phone, and headset. To assist staff members in staying productive, you should also consider additional tools and resources:

  • Access to digital data and communication tools

  • A small printer, a copy shop or a postal service account in your community, all with clearly stated expenditure caps

  • Company laptops

  • Access to a coworking space or a reliable internet connection

  • Tools for online video conferences like MS Teams or Zoom 

  • Access to online schedule management like RosterElf

Ideally, new remote workers will receive training on the necessary remote technologies and procedures six months before rollout. 

However, even if a transition to remote work is projected to happen in a couple of weeks, a 24-hour trial run can uncover unexpected flaws in a feasible remote strategy.

Depending on the situation, you could have one or two team members participate, or you might have the entire team.

Photo by: Julia M Cameron | Pexels

3. Clearly Define Productivity Standards for Remote Work

When discussing productivity standards with your remote workforce, setting clear expectations is critical. Some productivity criteria will be job-specific, while others may be company-wide. It is necessary to evaluate and document individual standards.

It may seem like too much extra work to track productivity standards, yet it might reveal patterns requiring attention. It might help you identify employee burnout or the need for more training to improve a production barrier.

4. Regularly Monitor Remote Staff

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for how often a manager should communicate with remote teams. 

However, the most effective one-on-one conversations go beyond merely keeping track of output. They are also practical tools available for maintaining the engagement and motivation of remote employees. 

Scheduling one-on-one calls, whether daily, monthly, or biweekly, is an excellent way as it can help your manager:

  • Respond to a variety of relevant queries to your employees

  • See if the employee is doing well generally

  • Talk about the employee's professional growth plans

  • Find and remove barriers together with your workforce 

Depending on the employee and their position demands, there may be a need for more or less routine engagement. Managers should be flexible to the orders and schedules of their staff, keeping productive workflows in mind and to the extent that their schedules permit.

5. Designate Certain Days and Means for Team Engagement

Emulating regular tea-table conversations for remote teams may need a bit more work. Additionally, remote managers should look for team-building events to involve everyone whenever possible. 

Encourage your remote employees to regularly stay in touch with you and the rest of the team and vice versa. Naturally, "constant communication" varies depending on the profession and the responsibilities of remote employees.

Moreover, establishing a regular time for online group conversations is essential to track progress and promote camaraderie. Leaders and project managers should assess situations and spot possible barriers to each employee's workload by doing team huddles.

6. Maintain Constant Communication With Your Workforce

Although managing remote employees isn't all that different from managing onsite teams, remote work can be a bit challenging for managers and team leaders. All of them share the same challenges, regardless of location. 

By managing results rather than individuals, you can show your team that you trust them. In other words, don't get hung up on employees' online time or how frequently they log in. Distractions are a given when employees work from home.

Key Takeaway 

Nobody could have predicted the possibility of remote work three years ago. However, it is rapidly becoming the standard that small business owners should adopt.

There are undoubtedly several ways to adapt to the changing world, from technology to new business procedures. Moving forward with the least amount of disorder requires acceptance of the change.

RosterElf: Rostering Made Easy

RosterElf's cloud-based payroll and rostering software truly is a game-changer. Say goodbye to roster conflicts and chase employees for their availability to work. Instead, employees can easily update their availability to work and notify managers about it through a smartphone app. 

Staff set the times and days they can work, and RosterElf does the rest. Our software then automatically suggests available employees fill shifts. 

What are you waiting for? Time to take your rostering and payroll game to the next level and boost your business' performance. Call us now at 1300 353 000, and our team will be more than happy to assist you. 

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