Differences between managing in-house and remote employees

remote working - Timestead

The debate of the century – in-house or remote? With so many aspects pointing in favour of each, the best model to adopt in a thriving and forward-thinking company is probably a mixture of both. Either by means of a hybrid approach or by giving those who can carry out their roles out of the office the option to stay home and get their 9-5 duties done while they rock it in their sweatpants.

But what about the management of geographically distanced teams? How does that work?

Well, for the old-school managers, this might seem like an impossible task, only achieved by mogul companies well beyond our local shores, but the truth is, it’s not that difficult. Here are 5 tips you can make use of to align your staff, make sure all communication and deadlines are achieved and keep everyone happy, safe and comfortable in the process.

Adopt a flexible hours pattern

The first, and wisest, aspect you might want to employ is abolishing the 9-5 regime. The fact is that controlling the times in which people work is quite mundane, especially if you’re working with creatives. Peaks and valleys of creativity soar very differently in creative industries, let’s take a creative agency as an example.

If you’re working with writers, designers, photographers or illustrators, there’s no point forcing them to produce in a stifling environment, and that includes time. Deadlines are a must, as the creative soul will easily prolong their production capacity and miss targets altogether, but as long as their tasks are carried out in a timely fashion and with quality as their key driving force, it makes no difference if solitary work is done at 9 AM or 9 PM.

Make this an option, and keep deadlines as your god – this will work if you give it a chance.

Create a check-in method

Checking in with your staff and employees is probably the most fruitful thing you can do as a manager. Your team doesn’t need constant mentoring, attention and guidance, on the contrary, this could lead them to feel micromanaged and cause an entirely different result to what you hoped.

Instead, create a check-in time where all your team members are called to an online meeting or in-person meeting at least once a week. This will lay out their tasks and duties, create a synced calendar for all those who rely on other staff members, in-office or not and align everyone onto the same mission.

Knowing what to expect from a meeting will always make it that much more productive and engaging. Your staff will actually look forward to it.

Find a good communication tool

You know that client who changes their mind every week, who decides it’s OK to change a brief one month into the team’s efforts on the project. Well, we’ve all had them and even though our initial reaction is to blast a few censored words their way, at the end of the day, they pay the bills so we, the happy workers, need to bite our tongue and adapt to the changes.

So what happens when these last-minute changes take place? That’s where your team’s communication tool steps in – and there are so many apps to choose from, Skype, Slack, Asana, Teams, Trello and so many others can be tested out and used by your core members, even freelancers at that!

Encourage a morning check-in too and an end of day check-out system to know who is working when and on what. It’s a golden method and shouldn’t be knocked down until you try it!

Create some ground rules

The fear and worry of any manager is that their remote staff will wander off to their own devices and leave all their pending for ‘later’, usually resulting in a rushed presentation, proposal or delivery. Well that’s not going to fly, is it?

Set some ground rules as to when you, as a manager, feel that everyone should be available for work and actively working on their set assignments. Be reasonable but firm about the start and end time of these fixed hours and try your best to accommodate everyone’s peak active hours of work.

There will be slip-ups, but it’s all about finding that curve and adapting to the flow your team needs to succeed.

Make it worth your while

The worst thing that can happen with a remote and in-office mesh-up is that you, the manager, will be splitting your time between each of the workforces – and if you have people working at odd hours in the day, you may be receiving that random email, as soon as you turn off your laptop, stretch your legs and plan to spend some time with your family.

Well, that’s definitely not going to work! So how can you manage it?

Set some boundaries within your team, create contact hours for both you and your staff, so you are guaranteed that all the team is well rested for the start of a brand new working day! Activate the do not disturb function on your phone and tell your colleagues and employees that you will only be available for emergencies, which in all honesty will probably be flagged by you anyway – so not too much to worry about there.

Finding ways to break away from your laptop, be it at home or in the office, could be a challenging task. But with some preparation, a handy, reliable and efficient time management tool in hand, you can make this hybrid model as effective as it was back in the old day when we all waddled to work, no questions asked.

When it comes to your employees time management skills, Timestead is a great tool to make use of and employ into the company ethic and capacity. Timestead is equipped with time management tools, accounting tools and even a nifty calendar that could align your team no matter where they are on the globe.

It’s paper-free and so easy to use, you’ll never imagine a productive working day without it! Contact our Timestead team for more information on this effective and efficient employee management tool.


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