Managing Teleworkers with Confidence

Managing employees in a hybrid environment, when on any given day some employees work from home and some are in the office, can be challenging. Guidance and tips from Telework!VA can help you manage employees confidently and successfully.

Telework!VA provides free customized training to help managers and their employees be successful in an environment that includes telework. Contact Telework!VA to learn more.

Management Skills

Managers need to have certain skills and knowledge to manage employees in today’s hybrid work environment. Successful managers need to:

  • Have excellent communication skills. Communicating effectively up, down, and across the agency is a key skill for success.
  • Set a good example by embodying the company’s culture.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be clear and concise with directions.
  • Be fair when delegating and assigning work. Many employees accomplish more when working from home, but managers should not assign more work to someone just because that person works from home.
  • Understand that communication styles and preferences are unique to the individual. Not every employee is motivated by the same type of communication. Managers need to learn their employees’ individual styles and preferences and adapt their communication with them accordingly.
  • Trust the integrity and professionalism of their employees.
  • Evaluate performance based on results, not on time spent in the office.

Telework!VA can provide training to help managers develop these skills and put them into practice.

Trust

A successful workplace relies on trust between managers and their employees. Trust should not be different just because employees are working from home. If you trust that employees are working when they are in the office, you should also trust that they are working when they are supposed to from home. If you do not trust an employee to work from home productively, consider why you feel that way and think about what could be done to rebuild trust and strengthen your working relationship.

Top 3 Challenges for Managers

The most frequent questions Telework!VA receives from managers involve communication, collaboration, and monitoring of employee performance. We offer a few tips below. For additional support and guidance, contact us today.

Effective communication is essential to a successful workplace. To be effective, communication needs to flow in all directions — from managers to employees, from employees to managers, and among all members of the team. Make sure you have the policies and procedures in place to effectively use communication tools and technologies.  This ensures that all team members receive the information and feedback they need and can easily communicate their ideas, questions, and concerns. Keep a virtual open door and encourage your staff to reach out immediately when they have questions or need assistance.

Collaboration can be a challenge when some employees are in the office and others are working from home. Fortunately, there are technology solutions to mitigate these challenges. Video conferencing platforms allow you to hold virtual meetings. Instant messaging and chat tools allow team members to share and discuss ideas. Document review features, such as tracked changes and comments, allow team members to collaborate on work products. Contact a Telework!VA expert to help you identify the right technologies for your team.

All employees are responsible for the success of the company, so accountability is a must. Managers need to be able to gauge their employees’ productivity, whether they work in the office or from home. The process does not have to look very different for telework employees than for on-site employees. Focus on the output of the work and manage by results. Establish measurable objectives — for quality, quantity, and timeliness — to provide benchmarks for evaluating an employee’s performance on a regular basis.

Tips for Managing Teleworkers

Managing teams virtually is somewhat different from managing them in person, but Telework!VA has some tips to help you manage teleworkers.

  • Work with your team members to determine which technologies will work best for team communication: email, text, video meetings, instant messaging, telephone. It may take some trial and error to determine which technologies work best for the team in specific types of situations.
  • Don’t change your expectations of staff just because they are working from home. Remote workloads should be consistent with in-person workloads. Setting reasonable expectations sets your employees up for success.
  • Establish a regular schedule for checking in with employees, whether by email, phone, or video chat.
  • Set a good example as a teleworker; make sure you are working and communicating in the same ways you ask of your team members.