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3 Tips to Keep Remote Employees Productive without Micromanaging

Many businesses didn’t choose to go remote in 2020: it became the only suitable option overnight. As a result, there was no time to prepare a remote management plan or brush up on new skills.

If you have micromanaging tendencies, then you may have found them stretched during the past year. But micromanaging is just as counterproductive out of the office as it is when you’re co-located. Micromanaging leads to poor morale, a lack of confidence, and stress, which all contribute to lower productivity and higher turnover.

How do you make sure employees remain productive without getting in your own way? Use these tips for remote management inspiration.

Use Team Management Software

Clear, measurable goals are the ticket to productivity. When you have a good team and a crystal clear deliverable, you can almost count on it getting done.

To help you avoid micromanaging a project — even one with a defined goal — use goal tracking systems, like team management software. The right software enables you to see where your team is at a glance, which cuts down on wondering, emails, and unnecessary Zoom calls. 

Software also makes teamwork more transparent, so members of each team can see where their colleagues are and collaborate easier. There are plenty of options out there, from enterprise systems to freemiums like Asana. Just be sure to choose the right one for your team’s needs and get them onboarded so they can hit the ground running.

Provide a Daily or Weekly Focus

If you find yourself wondering what your team is up to, then your team may not have a focus. Make life simpler for everyone by pulling out a daily or weekly focus for each goal and communicate it with the whole group. Make the focus clear and ensure it ties into the overarching effort.

Using this method not only helps you stay on top of what’s happening in the short-term, but it helps keep employees on track even when other projects may be calling their name.

Tip: Weekly focuses tend to work best for longer projects or sprints. If there’s a pressing project or need, you might use a daily goal.

Build Relationships Based on Trust

No system or method can save you from micromanaging if trust isn’t the foundation of your working relationships. You have to earn trust, and it takes hard work. However, it is the best way to avoid relying on harmful management tools and boost productivity overall.

Remember: you set the standard for behavior. So if you want to earn trust, you need to give it. Check out this research from the Kellog School of Management on what it means to build trust and build a stronger remote organization.

Is the missing piece of your productivity puzzle a new employee?

RightStone can help you build the remote team you need to exceed your goals in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone360 process.


Managing a Remote Workforce- Leading at a Distance

In 2019 and early 2020, articles about remote work were still in the ‘what if’ phase. Back then, 55% of businesses worldwide allowed for remote work in some shape or form — and only 4.7 million people were already working at home. 

If you find yourself leading from a distance, or are looking for a new leadership role in this climate, use these tips to help settle in and support your team as you all adjust to this new style of work.

Express Yourself Visually

What says “good job” more effectively? A short email that simply says, “good work” or a funny GIF or emoji? Very often, animations communicate feedback better than text because they pick up on the non-verbal communication you miss out on when you work remotely.

So, use emoji replies on Slack, send GIFs in an email, and do it consistently.

And don’t forget to reiterate your praise on video calls. It means more than you think.

Build in Time for Conversation

When you’re all at home, it seems prudent to hop on a call, talk about what needs to happen, and then get back to what you were doing. Running a meeting or call this way makes it very transactional, and that’s not good for your team.

You need to build relationships with your team members as people, so build time for chatting into your meetings. It will help you get to know your team, build rapport, and indicate what issues your team are having before they become problems.

Trust Your Team

If you don’t trust a member of your team, then you shouldn’t have hired them. But since they’re here, you should know you can rely on them.

You don’t need to rely on blind trust. Instead, set your expectations early and make them clear. Then, everyone is on the same page, and no one is left waiting for a deliverable.

Focus on Goals Rather Than Activity

A big problem managers face when leading remote teams is their emphasis on activity. They think: what if they aren’t working for eight hours? How can I tell?

The truth is that your on-site employees aren’t engaging in work activity for every minute they’re at the office either. The only difference is that you can drop in on them.

Rather than getting hung up on minutes worked, focus on goals. Is the work getting done? Is it on time? Is it of the quality you outlined in your expectations? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you have a productive team.

Get Ready to Lead Remotely

Today, everyone who can is by-and-large working from home, and leaders are leading from home. Learning to manage a remote workforce is very different from getting to grips with telecommuting tools. You need a whole new style that accounts for the lack of literal facetime.

Are you looking for your next leader, or needing to hire for a remote team? Get in touch to learn about our fine-tuned process for placing skilled IT professionals.


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