In the past, most jobs were performed in-house for businesses. But advances in technology and working life mean that more and more companies are hiring a remote workforce in recent years. This is especially true since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so many companies were forced to quickly adapt to a remote office setting as governments enforced lockdowns and people had to stay at home.
Managing a remote workforce is very different from managing in-house employees, and some managers are unsure about how to adapt to new ways of working remotely. Find out how they differ and the best methods for managing both below.
In-House Employees vs Remote Workers
In-house employees are members of your organization who perform their duties from the office or site where your company is based. In contrast, remote workers perform their tasks outside of the office, whether that’s from home, a satellite office, a remote work location such as hot-desking, or mobile workers on the go.
Some remote employees or freelancers even work from foreign countries, as outsourcing some services abroad is cost-effective. Much like the differences in hiring in house employees and remote workers, various factors will alter how managers lead these kinds of employees.
In a pre-pandemic world, the majority of office workers would have been classed as in-house employees. However, they have since shifted to remote working, meaning managers have had to adapt their management techniques.
Most managers will have received some level of training or guidance on managing in-house employees. These are the principles of good in house management.
1. Good communication
Communication is key when managing people who work in-house. Keeping employees informed and updated on their workloads and responsibilities, as well as your expectations, is essential. Make time for one-to-ones with your team so that they have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any concerns or worries they might have.
It’s good to have a designated office space where people can come to you and discuss openly how they feel about their work.
2. Positive working relationships
Developing and maintaining a positive working relationship will make your time in the office much more pleasant and help to motivate your team to work hard for you. Get to know your team members individually and on a personal level so that there is trust in the relationship and they feel they can come to you when they need to.
3. Recognize and reward good work
Let your team know when they’re doing a good job. Praise and acknowledgement of employee performance will motivate your staff and make them feel good. A happy team means better working relationships and more hardworking employees, and their excellent work also reflects well on you as management!
4. Be decisive
A good leader knows when to take a back seat and when to stand up and use their authority. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to make the tougher decisions for your team. When these situations arise, don’t expect more junior team members to know what to do. Make a decision and stick to it. Your team will be more likely to trust your assertiveness than if you dither and appear uncertain.
A team management professional understands that it’s impossible to do everything. Lots of tasks will require you to hand over to other team members. Learn which members of your team are best suited to different tasks, and delegate work accordingly.
6. Set a good example
Learn to lead by example, whether that’s arriving to work on time, responding to emails promptly, or being consistent in hitting deadlines. Your team will follow your lead. Also, it’s very difficult to reprimand a team member for tardiness if you regularly arrive late at the office!
Managing Remote Workers
Managing a remote workforce differs from managing people face-to-face, but the same management principles listed above still apply. Here are some ways you can adapt your management style when managing a remote team.
1. Mutual trust
If you are a hands-on manager who likes to know what your team is doing and where they are throughout the day, adapting to remote work can be a struggle. Trusting your team to continue to deliver the same high standard of work when they’re not in the same room as you can take some getting used to, but if you aren’t able to trust them to work hard remotely, it could lead to conflict.
2. Open communication
Regular communication is even more important for remote team members than in-house staff. Establish communication methods from the outset, including instant messenger apps, emails and regular video meetings, so that you and your team are on the same page.
Ensure that your team knows when to escalate any issues and how to contact you in case of emergencies. Respond to communications promptly and tell your team to do the same.
3. Use technology to collaborate and track progress
From software to track your employees’ time and manage their workload to programmes that allow multiple people to work from the same document simultaneously, working remotely has never been easier thanks to the latest technology!
There are many web tools and project management apps available for managing remote employees, keeping everyone up to date with the latest information, and on track to reach company deadlines.
How Management Differs
Three main factors dictate a difference in how business owners manage their in house employees vs remote workers. These factors include:
- Timing: You may need to adjust deadlines for remote workers to accommodate time differences or different working schedules. Whether timing projects in the office or a remote location, managers should always leave some time before the project deadline to ensure every employee has provided their share of the required work.
- Communication: Communicating with remote teams primarily through technology and apps can take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to chatting across desks and regular office meetings. That is why regularly scheduled team calls or video chats are an essential tool for all employees.
- Societal: Remote working allows for greater flexibility, and some team members may need to fit their work responsibilities around childcare or other commitments. On the same note, since the geography constraints that typically govern in-house employees’ hiring do not limit remote teams, some team members may be from different parts of the world. This means it is crucial to understand all societal and cultural differences between team members.
Using the Right Tools for Employee Tracking
Gain confidence in your workforce and efficiency in your own working schedule and business operations with employee tracking software from QuickBooks Time. Track time quickly, accurately and in multiple ways, helping to manage a remote team or in-house staff.
Whether your business’s employees work in-house or work remotely from home, you can use QuickBooks time tracking software to help you manage your team. With the mobile app, your employees can clock in and out from work wherever they are located.
Sign up today to get your employee tracking underway!