7 Tips for Managing Remote Workers

At SWAT Systems, we are helping a lot of clients with systems and processes for managing remote workers this week. As a leading Seattle Managed Services provider, we felt that it would be helpful to share some best practices below:

1. Communicate often. Plan for regular, frequent communication with your teams. Social distance is one thing, but a web camera and a chat window can bring life to the isolation of staying in your bunker. 

2. Set up daily check-ins. One-on-ones and face-to-face talks are still viable options via video. Use tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Google teams to connect remote teams. Set the agenda, provide feedback and work on the daily log jams that might be coming your way. What’s the #1 thing you need to get done today? How can your team help? This is also a great time to remind people about their quarterly goals, OKRs or other metrics that you should be managing. 

3. Technology is your friend. Tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are great ways to keep your teams engaged. If you need to collaborate and work with others, these tools are the rock stars of the tech industry. Mail and text messaging are so 2005. Video allows for a closer conversation and helps maintain the relationship. Don’t believe me? Face time a good friend and see how different the call is from a typical phone call.

4. Focus on the goals. Daily activity moves the needle, but the goals are  most important. Trust but verify when it comes to your people. If goals are not being reached, then you can focus on activity-based management. Until then, let your people co-create and be accountable to the end game.

5. Be realistic. Technology will glitch, somebody will forget to turn on the mute to the mic, the dog will bark, the family member will interrupt. The best question comes in from the chat window and you forgot to look. Test your web camera and your microphone. Make sure the background to your face makes you look good. If you think you look like Jabba the Hut, test lighting. Just remember something will and can go wrong, but looking your best is also important. Always keep that smile on and it’s ok to make some small talk. Be real! 

6. Build your remote toolbox. Think about all aspects of the remote location and set up. Power, headset, web camera, lighting, background, backup plan, equipment fully charged, applications and pop up distractions off. Log in early, test your audio, prep your questions, pre-plan the bio-break and have your water bottle ready. Have your agenda, a notepad and goals for meetings ready. Be diligent with your time. Some services like Zoom will let you record conversations; this can let you adjust your presentation and your style making you look like an expert or even keep non-attending members in the know.

7. Stay flexible. Trust that your people are getting things done. We now work in a 24-hour world. With vendors across the country, you might need to log in at off times for a remote meeting. So, if your employee ditches out at 3 p.m. to go work out, don’t get mad, be glad. Remote workers value their flexibility and can be very productive when managed correctly.  

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