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How to Manage Flextime Employees
Communicate well. Make sure that the lines of communication remain open and that you speak on the phone often when employees are working remotely. Search for early warning signs that flexible working may not suit the employee and take instant action. You may find it useful to communicate daily, at least at first until you are sure that flextime fits your remote employees. It is wise to avoid relying on email as a default source of communication. If you speak on the phone or meet in person, you are more likely to pick up any signal issues or difficulties. Not every manager communicates well. If you think you need some help in this area, ask for training as it is important to understand your employees and their range of comfort.
Use technology to make up for distance Use video conferencing such as Zoom, as a way of keeping the whole team consistent on a particular project. Using video platforms is a huge benefit as you stay in touch with your employees. You might also want to consider using Instant Messaging or similar applications to help employees chat with each other in a productive manner.
Train people for flexible working Many employees who are working remotely will remain more self-motivated than others. Provide precise instructions and guidance as to exactly what the criteria of their task is as well as clear deadlines. In some cases, employees may benefit from specific training in time management techniques and this increases personal productivity.
Trust employees Learn to trust your staff when they are working remotely and let go of micro-management. One important leadership trait is to create more leaders. Providing your remote employees independence to flourish is highly important.
Support flexible working You will need to ensure that employees are provided PCs and are able to access the Internet when they are in the office, even if it is a team desk facility.
Actively encourage teamwork and social interaction If some or all of your team are working remotely it is more important than ever that you have regular in-person team meetings. Use this time to clarify overall objectives and goals as well as make sure everyone is clear on what they are meant to achieve in their respective departments. As a manager, it is up to you to provide the general vision.
Manage by output not input As a manager, you must focus on deliverables and results instead of presence and constant activity. You will need to find other methods of checking that your employees are engaged and on track. Remember that there are several cues that you typically use on a daily basis as a manager to check whether employees are motivated and understand what they need to do. You will need to identify ways to compensate for this type of feedback. Make the shift to management by output rather than management by visual observation. Also, your remote employees are missing out on the many visual cues that tell them that their work is valued. When in the office, the fact that you smiled or said thank you when they delivered a completed task means a lot and increases motivation. So remember that your remote employees also need you to confirm that their work is valued and give them positive reassurance and feedback.
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