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How to Successfully Manage the Work, Not the People

Posted-on November 2020 By Amy Bates

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As millions of people now work remotely, managers who are unaccustomed to managing employees from afar face new challenges in leading and measuring their team's performance. Before this new World of Work, traditional management styles emphasised the need to manage employees effectively to get the best results. Today, however the emphasis has shifted to managing work rather than people in order to achieve the best results from a remote workforce.

So how do you successfully manage the work, not the people?

Leaving people alone and letting them work is the key to this approach. Inform your team about the big vision and ask how it can be delivered. This brings your remote team closer together and encourages additional interaction. Results are the most important metric to consider.

Focus on the endpoint.

Instead of managing the process that gets you there it's critical that you set clear expectations and concentrate on the results you want. Get rid of things that waste time and any distractions, including long meetings and unnecessary updates. Make sure all your employees know exactly what is expected of them. It's counterproductive to attempt to manage remote workers as if they were still in the office together.

Provide employees with the best equipment and tools.

Providing your employees working remotely with high-quality monitors and headphones and ensuring meetings are set up for participation regardless of location allows them to do good work anywhere. If you have people who continue to come into the office, they need places to conduct video-conferencing that ensure the best experience for virtual attendees.

Schedule regular check-ins.

Once you have set clear expectations for assigned tasks, it is important to have regular contact with remote workers, to ensure that they have the resources they need and that they are targeted to meet their objectives. Don't micromanage them or give the impression that you're constantly monitoring them to see if they're working. You will know from the results that they're delivering how they're doing. Always encourage your employees to confront up to the challenges or problems they face.

Retrain and develop.

The present situation is a chance for employers to train and develop their employees. You might have had to furlough people, and now you're going to have to figure out who is going to fill the gaps. You may be surprised at how ready your team is to take on new roles or train for new abilities. At this level, problem solving changes the relationship you have with your employees, you become partners committed to the same objectives.

Trust between employer and employee is essential. Even in a traditional workplace, there’s no way to completely prevent the misuse of time. But as demonstrated by increased productivity, most employees do what is expected of them and more. Believe in your employees and let them share the responsibility, whether they are at the office or at home, for moving your business forward.