Tuesday, February 18, 2020

It Might Be a Good Time to Consider More Remote Workers

Worried about the heath implications of spreading contagions? Or maybe you are just seeking to bolster your team with a more geographically dispersed workforce.

My advice is to manage remote workers by focusing on accomplishments, outcomes, and goals rather than just workflow. Of course, you still need to put place those processes — repeatable processes are the key to continuous improvement. But micromanagement of off-site personnel will hamper productivity.

Plan for remote interactions at the outset: email, texts, conference calls, slack or other chat services. One difference between face-to-face communication and communication via email and chat is that it is difficult to determine a person's intent from electronic communication because there is no tone or facial expression to provide context. When face-to-face, you are absorbing body language and facial expression. Humans understand a lot from those cues — as much or more than verbally.

Both employees and managers should resist the impulse to overanalyze every word in every message and to read negative intent into brief replies.

Pro tip: set office hours a few days a month when everyone is in the same place at the same time — overlapping time zone differences.

Finally, by cognizant of the need to intentional facilitate productivity boosts through trust, as well as cultivating opportunities for personal interaction.

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