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June 24, 2020

Leverage Your LMS to Simplify Managing Remote Employees

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COVID-19 has compelled many companies to switch to 100% remote work without much training or guidance. If you're not used to managing remote employees, it can be difficult to identify and implement best practices from the get-go. You might still be learning how to keep your team connected while keeping up company morale. And there may have been some missteps in ensuring each team member gets the support they need during the transition.

Fortunately, learning management systems and other remote engagement tools and strategies can help you effectively manage your employees and feel like a team, despite being in different places.

Distribute technology training via LMS

Whether it's to communicate, collaborate or simply get the job done, many employees will need to use new software to stay productive while working remotely. Using your LMS to distribute remote technology training is the simplest way to ensure everyone has access to the information they need. With just a few clicks, you can push software training to the whole organization or to a specified group of learners.

Another benefit of using your LMS to distribute technology training to remote workers is that it boosts your return on the time you invest. For example, not only does offering instructor-led training or a webinar provide an opportunity for remote workers to learn and ask questions as a group, they can be recorded and hosted in your LMS for future reference.

Use multimodal communication

According to Buffer's "State of Remote Work" survey, loneliness and "collaborating and/or communication" were the second and third biggest struggles reported by remote workers. When you're managing remote employees, it's important to combat these effects through positive and frequent communication.

Email-only communication can come off as cold and impersonal, especially at a time when people are already feeling anxious. Using different modes of communication can humanize your interactions and demonstrate flexibility to your teams.

For example, encourage informal instant messaging among employees for quick questions, and be sure to respond quickly when employees reach out.

Videoconferencing is a great option for team bonding. It's easier to engage in casual conversation when you can see your coworkers face to face. Many managers find that daily videoconferences keep their teams feeling connected.

Video chats are also a good option for delivering one-on-one employee feedback. Optimistic body language and tone can be lost over email or phone calls and make criticism feel less constructive.

Ask your employees what they need

As remote work continues, checking in on a regular basis to see how work is going will make employees feel appreciated and boost morale. It's also a great opportunity for remote employee recognition; take this time to thank them for their flexibility in response to COVID-19's impact on business. When you take the time to personally share with employees what they're doing well, they'll be encouraged to continue improving and delivering valuable work.

Employees might feel overlooked if you only reach out about work needs, though. Ask if there's anything you can do to support them as people during this transition. Investing in your team's mental health will remind them that they have a support system at their disposal, and that you value them as individuals.

Set boundaries

When people are working in the same space they live in, the lines between work and home can get blurred—making work feel stressful. The number one struggle cited by respondents to the State of Remote Work survey was "unplugging after work." It's important to set boundaries for both your sake and theirs.

Let your employees know the times you'll be online and available during the day, and make it clear that you won't be available for non-emergencies outside those hours. If possible, connect with each employee about personal needs outside of work and build individual schedules to accommodate them.

Find what works for your team

All teams operate differently. There are no hard rules for managing remote employees. If anything, the flexibility of remote work means it's possible to get even more creative with how your team functions. It's a time to experiment and flow in the direction of your team's strengths and preferences. Be open to new possibilities, and you may be surprised by what your team can accomplish.

Learn how your LMS can simplify managing remote employees. Connect with an Absorb LMS representative to discuss your team's needs.

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