There’s just something about a new year that inspires almost everyone to make their resolutions. But as an employer, you should also create some resolutions for your company, too, particularly if you have a flexible or distributed team. Here are just five New Year’s resolutions to get you started:
Set them up for success.
During the previous calendar year, you noticed that there were some glitches in the way your flexible team functioned. Maybe they were using their own (and old) computers that kept crashing. Or maybe they didn’t have an effective means to communicate with each other. So for 2016, resolve to address old issues that have plagued your team and instead set them up for success. Implement communication tools that will work for your team, or perhaps offer to purchase company laptops so your employees can be as productive as possible.
No doubt about it: communication is key when you’re dealing with a team whose members are scattered all over the country—or globe. That’s why sharing and disseminating information is critical to your team’s overall productivity and success. Some communication tips for remote managers: Share new initiatives and discuss potential programs that your company is looking to put into practice. Get your employees’ feedback, since their opinions can not only help give you some much-needed insight, but feeling that their thoughts and ideas matter can make team members feel validated, needed, and, in turn, happier employees.
Sure, doing a good job should be reward enough, but sometimes it’s a nice idea to reward your team for their efforts, too. Make sure you offer incentives once in a while to keep your team motivated and focused. You can give them a bonus come the end of the year, or if a certain department outperforms every other one in the company, you might reward them with a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant. The point is that the reward doesn’t have to be big; it’s simply the acknowledgment of a job well done by their boss that can make all the difference to an employee.
Keep it personal.
One of the biggest caveats of managing a virtual team is that it’s easy to lose that personal connection with your employees. After all, since you don’t see them in a traditional office each and every day, it’s easy to let a work anniversary or a child’s birthday slip by. But workers who feel that their companies (and in particular, their bosses) have a vested interest in their personal lives will often be more productive than those who feel they are just there to do a job. Take the time to remember birthdays and anniversaries, and send a small token of your esteem when a team member gets married or has a baby. And when you’re in meeting mode, don’t forget to take time to ask everyone how they’re doing. You can even schedule mini meetings that have absolutely nothing to do with work—and everything to do with their thoughts on the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
Invest in their health.
Sometimes, remote work and health don’t go hand in hand. People who work from home can suffer from being sedentary for too long, which can cause major health risks from obesity to diabetes, cardiovascular issues to cancer. That’s why you should make sure your employees are not only working smart, but healthy, too. Find out some of their work practices (i.e., how often they sit without taking a break) and help them work their way towards better health—literally. For your next staff meeting, make it a walking one where staffers can walk around the block, around a track, or even on a treadmill! Encourage your team to use standing desks, which are far more superior to sitting down all day, and persuade them to put in some steps during their calls by walking around instead of sitting. After all, a healthy employee is a happy (and productive) employee.
As you begin your 2016 plans, start thinking about the New Year’s resolutions you’d like to make for your flexible team—and then make them a reality!