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5 Best Practices for Managing Virtual Team Members - Coaching Telecommuting Employees During Social Distancing

5 Best Practices for Managing Virtual Team Members - Coaching Telecommuting Employees During Social Distancing

Learning Outsource Group would like to extend our heartfelt concern to our clients, partners, and friends during the coronavirus threat. Currently, companies and employees are making important decisions about how they will temporarily conduct business while dealing with the complexities of this issue.  Most companies are committing to social distancing and a telecommuting model for their organizations. 

We are continually adapting our operations and services as well to support the needs of our most important partners, our clients.

While you have team members who are currently working from home, you may want to consider the following recommendations and best practices to enhance employee engagement, productivity, communication, and overall job satisfaction.

 

Tip 1:  Provide a Vision of Hope, Value and Recognition

During this time of transition and unpredictable circumstances, it is important to lead with a message of confidence and hope. Hope mitigates uncertainty. Let employees know that even though they might not be working in the office, their mission and responsibilities remain extremely important. Explain why and help them to focus on the service and value they provide their customers. And at every opportunity, recognize employees who are performing well during these difficult times. A little extra recognition or reward can provide something positive for employees to think about rather than any obstacles they may be encountering.

 

Tip 2:  Allow a Degree of Flexibility but also Consistency

Initially, those who work virtually may like the flexibility of managing their schedule and activities without some of the normal business operation expectations. So, they may need mentoring and guidance to construct and follow a productive daily work schedule and plan. And yet if you believe the employee will take a totally responsible approach, be flexible in allowing them to participate in creating their own work plan.

  • Consider asking the employee to submit their proposed work schedule and daily work plan for discussion, consideration and endorsement
  • Refer to ‘Daily Work Schedule & Minimum Expectations’ on the Virtual Team Member Guidelines Worksheet

 

Tip 3: Implement ‘Systems’ to Track Team Member Daily Behaviors, Activities and Results

Monitoring and managing team member productivity are simpler when they are working out of the office.  But since you may not be working from the same location, you may need to implement additional temporary systems or process to track and trend employee work tasks, behaviors and productivity results.

  

Tip 4: Organize a System of Regular Communications

It is easy to take communication for granted when working with employees in a common location. It is not as easy to communicate when they are working virtually from home. It is recommended that managers communicate with virtual employees at least twice a day. Recommended agendas and time frames might include:

  • During the morning hours to review their daily schedule and priorities
  • In the late afternoon hours to review their daily results, answer questions, confirm achievements and coach the next day’s plan and activities
  • Refer to the Virtual Team Member Guidelines Worksheet for expressing your expectations for communication & technology use

 

Tip 5:  Perform Weekly Reviews to Confirm, Coach and Reinforce Productive Employee Behavior

It is important to remember that even tenured employees may be distracted by a new work environment, unfamiliar processes, and irregular communication with managers. Consider a weekly virtual One-On-One with your employees to provide them with mentoring and coaching in the areas of:

  • Weekly work review
  • Team Member personal development and improvement progress
  • Team Member plans and expectations for the coming week
  • Refer to the Virtual Team Member Guidelines Worksheet for expressing your expectations for communication & technology use

 

We have many of the best clients in the world! Still, it can be difficult for leaders to continue productive forward movement when faced with such challenging circumstances. Please remember, you are not alone! By reviewing and implementing these suggested best practices you will find that transitioning forward may be easier than you think.

And, as our clients know, you can always contact Learning Outsource Group when you have a need for answers, coaching or assistance. If you would like assistance with managing employees or improving sales during this difficult time, please call on us! We have been helping clients through challenging business situations for more than 20 years and we are here now!


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