Challenges to Managing Remote Supervisors: 3 Actionable Tips

managing remotely

The sudden shift to remote work presents unique challenges to what was once a predominantly in-person workforce. While many pre-pandemic virtual work environments have procedures to run a remote environment effectively, most companies were quickly forced into remote work without proper training or tools. Without face-to-face interaction, businesses continue to experience a lack of supervisor/worker accountability and an alarming breakdown of standards and productivity in the workplace. 

Supervisors have one of the most demanding and challenging jobs in a company. They’re required to balance the growing demands of management and the needs and well-being of their workers. In many cases, they are managing a group of employees who were once their peers. They often have to lead without ultimate authority while also maintaining trust and camaraderie with their employees. Managing all this in a remote environment continues to be a struggle for many supervisors. Without direct interaction with their workers, supervisors are not communicating effectively, there is broken trust, and workers are not performing at the levels they did in the past. 

Employers must be aware of the impact mismanagement has in a remote environment, including: 

  • Decreased productivity 
  • Employees “running the show,” resulting in;
    • Broken-down standards
    • HR issues
    • Timecard fraud
  • Increased sexual harassment and discrimination 
    • Without accountability, employees are becoming too casual in their interactions. As a result, culture changes, employees become vulnerable, and your company is compromised.
  • Morale takes a hit
    • Employees are working harder than ever but not getting recognized.
    • Employers are hiring new employees at higher rates, with less experience and a lighter workload.

If you’re seeing any of this in your organization, you can still turn things around. Here are three tips to get you started.

1. Set Priorities, Communicate Goals, and Monitor Progress.

As the old saying goes, “inspect what you expect.” To inspect, you must set specific priorities for your employees. Communication is even more critical when managing a remote team. It would be best if you were overly clear on what your expectations are. If your supervisor fully understands their goal, they are better equipped to manage their team. They will be able to work with their staff to push a goal forward through collaboration and inspection. Employers will then be able to see a measurable outcome based on the success of their supervisors and staff.  

2. Provide Remote Work Training for Supervisors.

Supervisors have the most influence on the morale and productivity of the company. If Supervisors don’t have the skills and training needed to manage a remote team, they will struggle. Supervisors that don’t have support are more likely to lack motivation, feel stressed, and isolated. This sentiment can have damaging effects on your employees and the organization as a whole. Proper training of your supervisors will improve the trust, confidence, and well-being of your workforce. As a result, your productivity and performance will soar. 

3. Be Intentional with Rewards and Recognition

No one wants to feel like they’re insignificant or unappreciated at work. If your employee has been working for weeks or months without positive affirmation, they will likely feel frustrated, demoralized, and disrespected. You better believe they’ll be unproductive and are probably out looking for a new job. As you monitor your expectations, consider recognizing and giving feedback to employees showing progress and meeting goals. Give those employees more opportunities for growth in the organization, offer raises, and publicly recognize them for their achievements. If you do this, you’ll quickly see morale go up, and turnover rates go down. 

 

Both supervisors and workers are critical to a company’s success. When it comes down to it, the best thing an employer can do is lead by example. Be accessible, engage in open communication, and inspire growth in both your supervisors and their staff.

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