Every month, we’re highlighting stories, trends and tips related to employee engagement and workplace culture that organizations should be keeping top-of-mind in order to engage, retain and recruit top talent.

It’s hard to talk about employee engagement and the workplace and not talk about the fact that most employees still aren’t physically in the workplace. And while managing remote employees isn’t new to some, for many others, it’s the first time they’re being asked to do it, and likely without any formal training.

Managing workers remotely is an entirely different thing from managing face-to-face. Trust becomes a bigger issue – how do you know if the employee is actually working if you can’t see them? How often should you be connecting with them, vs. what comes off as micromanaging? And how do you make sure they stay productive and motivated? For both managers and employees, these types of questions can add even more stress on top of an already stressful situation.

With many companies continuing to ask their employees to work from home for an indefinite amount of time, it’s important to provide training and support for those who are managing remotely for the first time. This Harvard Business Review article dives deeper into this topic and provides important considerations for companies. In the meantime, here are three simple tips that may help those first-time remote managers:

  • Set expectations it’s not too late to have this conversation. Talk to your employees about what their ideal work hours are each day, as they may need to shift due to family needs and other factors. Decide on regular check points so they know when and how you’d like to be kept updated on things. Setting clear expectations will ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Give them autonomy trying to micromanage their daily activities will only add more stress for you and your employees. Focus on setting realistic and measurable outcomes instead, and give them the autonomy and trust to get things done. Check in with them regularly on progress, or simply to offer support and guidance as needed.
  • Don’t forget to engage – it’s important to make sure employees are getting the job done and staying productive, but don’t forget to check in with them on a personal level, too. Ask how they’re doing mentally and emotionally and how you can support them, and find ways to show appreciation for them just like you would if they were in the office.

What are some trends that you’re seeing in the workplace? We’d love to share them in a future post! Check back next month for more.