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How to Manage Remote Employees in China

How to Manage Remote Employees in China

To lead a remote team effectively, managers may find they need to take a little more of a back seat while still finding ways to hold staff members accountable.

Managers may find they need to take a little more of a back seat while still finding ways to hold staff members accountable in order to effectively manage a remote workforce.

Employees in a shared office setting may succeed by concentrating more on the work that gets done and if it adheres to predetermined quality standards. Being open to a little experimentation with technology and meeting procedures is also beneficial.

To put it another way, managers must be willing to change the way they lead their teams and get rid of the idea of micromanagement in order for virtual work initiatives to succeed, whether they are foreseen months in advance or are a reaction to a natural disaster or a worldwide pandemic.

Because the growing trend of remote work is here to 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 business owners manage remote employees to get you started.

Recognize standard issues with working from home

When managing a remote workforce, supervisors and business owners face four basic difficulties.

  • Lack of face contact with colleagues and supervisors Face-to-face interaction is essential to workplace interactions and corporate culture. Virtual teams often feel the loss of in-person connection keenly. Consider using collaboration tools to promote employee engagement and social contact among distant team members.
  • Video fatigue On the other hand, relying solely on Zoom to facilitate connections can lead to negative outcomes. Give workers the authority to decide whether or not they wish to appear on camera during internal meetings and as a team. Unless client-facing, requiring all cameras at all times can lower morale and is just another pointless attempt to supervise and control what staff do.
  • Communication breakdowns and bottlenecks When we work remotely, we are unable to sneak down the hall or glance over the cubicle to check whether a coworker or supervisor is available to address a short question. Additionally, despite their convenience, emails and slack messages occasionally get missed.
  • Distracting circumstances Distractions seem to be a part of remote work, whether it’s a fellow coffee shop patron unintentionally dropping sugar on a remote worker or children shouting loudly from the living room during a zoom meeting.

As long as these occurrences don’t become routine, patience is a virtue, particularly when using remote work as a temporary fix for an urgent problem.

Set clear productivity standards for remote work

When talking with your remote workforce about productivity standards, it’s crucial to establish clear expectations. Some productivity requirements will change depending on the position; others might be uniform throughout the business.

Individual standards must be evaluated and recorded, even haphazardly. You and your teleworking team may stipulate, for instance, that any developer assigned to a project must provide code ready for testing in five working days and that there must be 48 hours’ warning if a deadline won’t be fulfilled.

Although keeping track of productivity standards may seem like an unnecessary extra effort, it can assist identify trends that require attention. It can assist you in identifying burnout or the need for more training to remove a productivity-affecting barrier.

Identify and provide the right tools

Making the required tools accessible to remote workers is a crucial component of managing them properly. Leaders and teams may have to consider what measures should be taken to make the transition to telecommuting easier in order to meet that need.

The same resources used by onsite employees must be accessible to remote workers, including but not limited to:

  • Handbook of policies and procedures
  • Presentation templates and supplies
  • Postal equipment and stationery
  • Applications & Software
  • Corporate credit card

Set aside specific days, times and methods for team interaction

Replicating conventional office water cooler communication may need a little more work for remote teams. Additionally, remote managers should look for opportunities for team development to include everyone when there is a mix of on-site and off-site workers.

Encourage your remote team members to communicate with you and the rest of the team frequently. At first, it could appear forced or onerous. Naturally, what qualifies as “frequent contact” depends on the profession and the responsibilities of remote workers.

Improve communications between remote teams

For remote communication, it goes without saying that email, instant messages, and phone or Zoom video calls are necessary.

Employees should, if possible, maintain their workday calendars current on a centralized platform or application. Software “away” alerts and out-of-office email responses sent during regular business hours are also helpful. These seemingly insignificant actions reduce the dangers and annoyances brought on by those awful communications bottlenecks.

It might be beneficial to review meeting management techniques. Although there isn’t much of a difference between online and in-person meetings, it’s generally beneficial to:

  • Set clear goals.
  • By including “be camera ready” or “camera optional” in the invitation, you can establish expectations before the meeting.
  • At the start of major meetings, call roll so that everyone is aware who is present.
  • Tell everyone to keep their voices down when they’re not talking.
  • Set aside days and times when there won’t be any meetings so that the team has uninterrupted work time.

When managing teleworkers, the agile process—which was created inside the software industry but is now used in many other sectors—can be helpful. Many remote teams discover that the procedure fosters accountability while also assisting managers in project monitoring.

Follow up with remote employees regularly

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for how frequently a manager should communicate with remote employees, as there is with the rest of the recommendations provided here.

However, the most fruitful one-on-one conversations go beyond merely keeping track of output. They can also be effective tools for maintaining the engagement and motivation of remote workers.

Scheduling one-on-one calls, whether daily, monthly, or biweekly, is an excellent idea because it can help a manager:

  • Determine if the employee is doing well overall
  • Work with the staff member to identify and eliminate bottlenecks
  • Discuss plans for the employee’s professional development
  • Answer a range of questions relevant to the employee

There may be a need for more or less routine engagement, depending on the employee and the requirements of their position. For instance, Amanda might prefer a weekly call while Matthew might prefer daily calls.

Supervisors should be flexible to the demands and calendars of their team, keeping productive workflows in mind and to the extent that their schedules allow.

Remote doesn’t mean cheaper

When discussing remote workers, budgets are an important side element. Some corporate executives might believe that implementing remote work and reducing office space by 50% will result in a 50% decrease in the cost of housing staff in a traditional workplace.

The formula isn’t exactly simple, though. Yes, your business will definitely spend less on real estate, but depending on the amount of remote work required, those savings may be used elsewhere.

For instance, if remote employees from other states must visit the headquarters once every three months or more, your travel budget might go up. Or, to adequately equip remote workers, you might need to spend money on new or improved software or additional hardware, such headsets.

Even more so than those who work in offices, remote workers can be productive. Just make sure they are successful.

Keep in constant contact with your team

Although managing remote teams isn’t all that different from managing onsite teams, virtual work does add complexity to the leadership role. No matter where they are, managers face the same fundamental difficulties when it comes to managing others.

Dealing with unpleasant conversations with staff is one of the difficulties that every manager must deal with at some point. These conversations usually center on the following topics:

  • Negative feedback about job performance
  • Negative feedback about a specific behavior
  • Disciplinary issues
  • Demotions or involuntary reassignment of roles and responsibilities

Without a doubt, having hard talks with employees can happen anywhere. However, in a situation where a manager and subordinate may infrequently, if at all, encounter in person, both sides are susceptible to miscommunications. Virtually handling these challenging interactions successfully calls for a stronger emotional intelligence and more intention.

By controlling results instead of people, you can show your staff that you have their trust. In other words, don’t obsess over an employee’s daily internet activity or frequency of check-ins. There will always be distractions when employees work from home.

Instead, concentrate on the output of your staff members, including what they accomplished and what they missed or failed to finish. You must have faith in the individuals you work with in a remote environment because it is impossible to police them from a distance.

Find more tips for how to manage employees or hr strategies, please contact us.

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