Did you know that a typical employer can save $11,000 for every half-time remote employee they hire? 

Companies that employ remote working models also experience 25% lower employee turnover rates. 

Remote workforces boost productivity, reduce absenteeism, and curtail real estate costs. 

But managing a remote workforce is not always an easy task.

Traditional management styles can reduce autonomy and tank employee engagement. Remote working models also come with inherent challenges. Such as communication breakdowns and watered-down employee relationships.

Fortunately, effective remote employee management isn’t rocket science. Once you know what errors to avoid, you can tailor your remote work policy for success.

Do you want to be able to foresee and avoid critical remote employee management mistakes? Keep reading.

1. Micromanagement

Micromanagement is one of the most common, and detrimental, mistakes companies make.

Most managers are still more comfortable physically overseeing employees. The default reaction is often, “How can work get done without supervision?”

Managers may feel the need to virtually look over employees’ shoulders. This can do more harm than good. 

Have you taken the time to source top-quality talent? If so, you may find that most of your remote employees are capable of managing their own time and workload. Micromanaging practices can erode this, and result in decreased autonomy and motivation.

Instead of policing remote employees’ every move, managers should focus on:

  • Establishing clear expectations and goals
  • Setting regular deliverables

Project management tools can also reduce the need for micromanagement. The right project management solution will:

  • Give clear visibility of responsibility and work
  • Keep timelines in sight
  • Facilitate cohesive collaboration
  • Improve communication
  • Clarify team expectations

Task scheduling software can also be invaluable. Not only does it allow managers to assign tasks, but it also provides a visual of progress.

2. Draconian Time-Tracking

Draconian time-tracking often comes hand-in-hand with micromanagement. Tracking employees’ time isn’t inherently bad, in fact, it can provide valuable metrics.

But time-tracking shouldn’t become an ax over employees’ heads. 

Statistics show that flexible work hours are one of the driving reasons people seek new jobs. 

Managers who track every minute can distract remote workers from deep work. Rigid time tracking can keep staff focused on the clock instead of deliverables.

Draconian-style time-tracking can also erode trust. It can make employees feel like they’re a resource to be managed rather than a valued team member.

3. Too Many Check-Ins

Frequent check-ins can be important in remote working environments. But overly frequent check-ins can also crush productivity.

Are managers contacting remote workers every few hours to find out how far they are with a task? This can interrupt their workflow, eradicate feelings of trust, and create anxiety.

Check-ins should be based on employee needs. They shouldn’t be the primary avenue by which managers ensure work gets done. 

4. Too Few Check-Ins

Not checking in enough is another remote employee management mistake to avoid. 

Bombarding remote employees with emails and DMs to make sure they’re working isn’t a good idea. But not checking in enough can leave remote employees without the support they need.

Make it a practice to carry out regular 1:1 check-ins. These should give visibility into activities without micromanaging.

Optimal check-in frequencies depend very much on specific roles and tasks. Managers may need to reach out more during times when employees may need specific resources or assistance.

Managers should also maintain an open-door policy. Employees must feel they can reach out if they need anything

5. Over Managing and Under Supporting

If you distill down what we’ve covered so far, over-managing and undersupporting is the common thread. 

Instead of hounding workers, managers should focus on making sure employees have everything they need to succeed. This will improve their work experience, and empower them to handle their workload. 

Equipping remote employees with the right resources will boost productivity far more than micromanaging their minutes. 

6. Not Establishing Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations is critical for successful remote employee management. 

Managers need to be crystal clear on:

  • What they want done
  • When they need assignments completed
  • Why things need to be completed a certain way

Er on the side of over-communication and reiterate directions in different formats. For instance, if you’ve assigned tasks during a video meeting, follow this up with an email. You can also post reminders and summaries on collaboration platforms and shared workspaces. 

Don’t assume that everyone is on the same page or understands what’s required. Make sure. Invite employees to ask questions and provide feedback. 

7. Not Establishing a Communication Policy

Communication breakdowns are one of the inherent challenges around managing virtual teams

To reduce miscommunication, establish team communication policies that outline:

  • How remote workers should use specific communication channels and for what purposes
  • Which team members to reach out to for specific issues (who to talk to about what)
  • Company culture guidelines around communication (e.g., no hate speech or discriminatory language)

Team communication policies should be maintained in response to process changes. 

8. Not Fostering Interpersonal Connections

Another core challenge in remote workforces is a lack of interpersonal connection. This can erode collaboration, trust, employee satisfaction, and loyalty. 

It can also impact work outcomes and customer experience. Companies consist of their people. If your people aren’t happy, united, and feel a sense of belonging, this is bad news. 

To avoid this, managers need to actively foster a sense of community, togetherness, belonging, and camaraderie.

Create opportunities for remote employees to build interpersonal connections through things like:

  • Team building activities
  • Virtual games, challenges, and competitions
  • Casual communication spaces (such as Slack channels)
  • Virtual watercooler conversations

Encourage employees to share things from their lives. For instance, teams can do weekly photo sharing on specific themes. Such as pets, food, hobbies, etc. 

These types of activities help break the ice and allow remote employees to get to know each other over time. 

Effective Remote Employee Management Starts With the Right Talent

Building remote teams can increase agility, reduce overheads, boost productivity, and more. However, remote employee management can be full of challenges.

If you don’t hire the right talent and carry out thorough onboarding, managing virtual teams can become even more difficult. 

Would you like to attract high-quality talent to flesh out your remote teams?

We help companies attract, engage, onboard, and induct the best talent from around the globe. We also offer consulting, employee branding, and more. 

Contact Bradford Jacobs today to discuss your needs.