It can be difficult to manage remote workers without micromanaging them.
It can also be difficult to keep make sure everyone is staying on task when they are working remotely. Finding a balance between accountability and micromanagement isn’t easy, but with a few tips and some trust in your employees, it can be done.
How To Keep Remote Workers Accountable
There are many simple but effective ways you can keep your remote workers accountable.
Remote Work Policies
The best place to start is with a good Work-From-Home Policy. Take the time to spell out what is expected of remote employees in terms of hours and availability, work reporting, and more. This policy should eventually become a part of your company’s employee handbook.
Make sure there are sections in the policy for proper communication practices, like who they can contact about what, how to contact their supervisors, how often one-on-one check-ins should be conducted, and how productivity is tracked.
Engaging with your team and giving them a way to engage with each other can help foster a positive work environment and increase productivity. Managers can encourage engagement through already established group messaging platforms by asking people what they hope to or did accomplish that day, or what they’ve been working on that week.
Team meetings and one-on-one calls are a good way for managers to keep in touch with their teams, too. Managers can use these to get an idea of what people are working on and if they are experiencing any issues.
Track Deadlines & Quality
When it comes right down to it, you really just need to make sure that employees are getting their work done on time and that their work is of the quality you expect it to be.
If projects are still being completed on or ahead of schedule and the work is still of good quality, that means your remote workers are just as productive as your in-office employees, and that’s a good thing.
Productivity Monitoring Tools
If your remote workers are routinely missing deadlines or are submitting bad work, then you might have to move to a more invasive was of holding them accountable. Productivity monitoring tools allow employers to track employee’s time and tasks, which can help identify issues.
These tools can be extremely invasive, though, and resourceful employees can pretty easily find ways around them. Many remote workers resent the use of these tools, so managers should consider them a last resort.
What Not To Do
Some of the things a company might do in the name of keeping employees accountable can quickly veer into micromanagement.
You don’t need to do surveillance on your remote workers. You don’t need to monitor their screens or make them log every break they take or account for how they spent every minute of the day. It’s invasive and excessive and will make your workers resentful and frustrated.
You also don’t need to have too many meetings. Team meetings and one-on-ones should be held no more than once a week at most, in most situations. Your remote workers are sick of being on video calls all the time and your managers probably are too. Virtual meetings, much like real ones, can feel like a waste of time if the meeting is less productive than the work they could have done during that time.
Trust and accountability need to go hand-in-hand if you want remote work employees to be happy and productive. You can trust your remote workers to do their jobs, especially remote workers who used to work from the office. They did their job well before, and they will probably do just as well working from home.
You can still hold them accountable, though. Make sure they know what is expected of them, and make sure managers are taking the time to check in with them so they know how things are progressing.