Supporting a Telecommuting Team

As a supervisor, managing a team of remote workers is much different than managing a team at an office. You will need to evaluate work performance based on your employees' work results and this can be a challenge. The tips below will help you effectively manage a teleworking team.

Tips for Supervisors

Review technology needs and resources

Review the technology resources your team will need to effectively work remotely. Take an inventory of your team's current readiness status and place any necessary orders for equipment or access.

Review work schedules

Be sure to provide guidance to your team about expectations for work schedules. Will work hours be the same? Due to the current COVID-19 situation, be aware that more flexibility may be necessary if employees are juggling school closures, child care, and/or elder care responsibilities.

Communicate

Develop a communication plan for keeping in touch with your team. Clearly communicate specifics about accountability with your team.

For example, if you used to visit your employees at their desks every day, you can still do this with a call or instant message/chat.

It is also a good idea to keep a list of back-up telephone numbers for each of your team members (home phones or cell phones) in case of emergency.

Maintain meetings

Maintain department meetings and one-to-one check-ins, altering the schedule, if needed, to accommodate any alternative schedules that have been approved.

Conduct check-ins

Conduct regular check-ins with your employees to ensure their engagement and connection levels remain high. This is even more important in our current public health situation. Check-ins will keep you abreast of any potential health issues such as a COVID-19 infection or quarantine measures, etc.

Maintain positivity and trust

Evaluate work performance based on results and reaching agreed upon objectives.

Additional questions

Some questions you may want to work through with your team are:

  • What routine responsibilities/tasks cannot be fulfilled while working remotely and how will it impact operations or other people? What are ways to reduce the impacts?
  • What routine responsibilities/tasks require regular communication and collaboration with others? Proactively contact each partner to confirm how you will communicate while everyone is working remotely. Often employees experience fewer interruptions while teleworking. Are there any special projects or tasks that you can advance while working remotely?
  • What events or meetings are scheduled during the time in which the temporary telework arrangement is in place? Will they be postponed or canceled, or will they take place using technology? What follow-up needs to occur due to postponements or cancellations?
  • What projects have been on the back burner that can now be worked on? Could this be a possible learning opportunity for someone to take on?