Best Practices for Managing Remotely (You Already Know These…)

Man Working From Home Having Online Group Videoconference On Laptop

Over the past several months I’ve been very interested, even excited, to see how well the forced experiment with remote work has evolved. Since 2008 I’ve been working remotely. Even prior to that, I had several writing clients that I worked remotely for; most I’ve never met.

I was an early adopter of telework or telecommuting and wrote books on the topic back in the 1990s—last year I wrote a new book on remote or hybrid management best practices in light of the sudden shift to remote work settings for many employees and the challenges managers found themselves facing.

The “Big Lie” About Managing Remote Workers

One of the things that I’ve always found to be so interesting about how managers and organizations consider remote work is that they think it is significantly different from other forms of management—it really isn’t. The same basic rules of effective management apply in both remote and on-site management.
In fact, if you think about it, many managers have been managing in “remote” settings for years—e.g., those in organizations with multiple locations or branches, especially global organizations—and masses of managers who aren’t physically located where their employees are located. Does it really make any difference whether employees are working from a corporate location or from their homes? We’ve quickly and suddenly discovered that, no, it really doesn’t. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that employees working from home are often more productive, more engaged, and more satisfied (especially about their work/life balance) than those in the workplace.

Two Must-Have Practices for Managing Remotely

There are, in my opinion, two threshold practices that managers need to follow to effectively manage in a hybrid (or other) work environment:
  • Establish very clear and very specific desired goals and outcomes. What will “success” look like? What do you expect of your employees? How will you measure their effectiveness? Importantly, employees also need to know how what they do – and the expectations you have of them—impacts organizational success.
  • Communicate frequently and often and via multiple channels. Employees need feedback—they need to understand how they’re doing and when they may need to make changes to improve their performance. They also need to have the ability to provide feedback and seek information and support when they need it. And, they need to know what’s going on with the organization and how this affects them in their day-to-day work.
Again, these critical elements of management are no different for employees working remotely than they are for employees working on site. It’s just that, in a remote environment, the lack of these practices is far more visible.

Remote and Hybrid Work Are Here to Stay

It’s become clear that remote and hybrid work (where some people are working remotely and others are on-site) is here to stay. While some employers have attempted to take a hard-line stand and require workers to return to the workplace, many are finding that some employees prefer this more flexible environment—and they’re willing to look for work elsewhere if their employers won’t accommodate this preference.

Are you managing a remote or hybrid team? What best practices have you discovered during the pandemic that you’ll continue to use moving forward?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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