(Here are our tips for managing home workers. For more details on each one see the blog section of this site)
1. Manage by output:
Agree what your people need to achieve and discuss how you will both know that they have achieved it. This frees up the employee to get the job done in the way that suits them best.
2. Keep in touch:
Call people to see how they are, not just to chase up work. Find a substitute for the coffee machine casual chat. Let people know what’s going on in the rest of the department. Some people can work independently for a long period without needing to talk to anyone. Others need to hear from you regularly.
3. Trust employees:
Show that you trust people by letting them get on with their work as best they can under the circumstances. You can’t micromanage them at a distance so it’s a good opportunity to delegate responsibility to them.
4. Keep the social aspects of work going:
Make sure people still get an opportunity to chat about the things they would have done if they had been in the office. Maybe set up a WhatsApp group or use some other social media to keep in touch.
5. Review your need for meetings:
Take a look at the meetings you usually hold and ask yourself if the outcomes can be achieved any other way. If they are for sharing information, maybe you can do this via email. Or you can record a video, saying the things you would have said in the meeting.
6. Still hold face-to-face meetings using video:
As long as people have broadband at home (or perhaps a4G phone signal) it’s possible to see people when you are talking to them. Whether its one-to-one or a group use Skype or equivalent to hold meetings.
7. Listen carefully:
You need to pick up how someone is feeling and that is more difficult if you are not face-to-face. Understand people’s needs and react accordingly: don’t treat everyone the same. Allow people to work at a time that suits them.
8. Still consult and keep people involved in decisions:
Just because you are not working side by side any more that shouldn’t stop you from picking people’s brains, asking their opinions and taking their views into account.
9. Provide support/advice on use of technology:
Have a discussion with your team about what technology to use when. Don’t flood them with hundreds of emails, look at alternatives.
10. Don’t forget to say “thank you” and “well done”:
People working from home can feel isolated and forgotten. Make sure you congratulate and praise them as often as possible.