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Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Human Capital Management (HCM) is, in many ways, positioned at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. In a short amount of time, the pandemic has radically altered the nature of the workplace in organizations across the United States and around the world. Along with providing guidance to keep employees safe and healthy, HR now has a key role to play in helping an organization’s employees adjust to a new reality: The home as a workplace. Below, we provide tips and guidance for employees who find themselves working from home, along with tips for managing remote employees.

Managing employees can be a difficult task already, and the challenge is doubled for remote work. Below are five tactics that any manager of remote employees can use to maintain good work relationships, whether ‘remote’ means across town or across time zones.

» Have a virtual open-door policy: If a remote employee sends a message asking for a few
minutes to talk, put everything else aside and use video conferencing or the phone to talk
with him or her. Using voice or video allows both individuals to show that each is giving the other their undivided attention.

» Make time for regular meetings: Schedule weekly check-ins via phone or video with each remote employee. Block this time out on the calendar and use it to catch up even if there isn’t something pressing to discuss. When working on a project, schedule quick weekly meetings in a consistent channel to check in, assess progress, and plan tactical moves as needed.

» Take emotion off the table: When communicating remotely, it can sometimes be difficult
not to read emotion into an email. Regular communications help managers and remote
employees recognize each other’s tone in written messages.

» Enable easy file sharing and information flow: Work with your IT and/or KM function to
ensure that collaboration and knowledge-sharing platforms are configured for your team’s
needs. Tools like Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite make it easy to share, collaborate, and
track projects while keeping everyone on the same page.

This article is written by APQC in the document COVID-19 ORGANIZATIONAL SURVIVAL GUIDE, Featuring insights and strategies from APQC’s 5 major research areas.

APQC helps organizations work smarter, faster, and with greater confidence. It is the world’s foremost authority in benchmarking, best practices, process and performance improvement, and knowledge management. APQC’s unique structure as a member-based nonprofit makes it a differentiator in the marketplace. APQC partners with more than 500 member organizations worldwide in all industries. With more than 40 years of experience, APQC remains the world’s leader in transforming organizations. Visit us at, and learn how you can make best practices your practices.

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