7 Essential Tips on How to Effectively Manage Remote Employees
Today’s emerging and existing technologies have made anything remotely possible. Thus, it’s not unusual for business owners or managers like you to have employees working from home and away from the physical office.
How do you stay on top of your business if you and your workers are time zones apart or not seeing each other every day? Can you effectively monitor or manage them? These techniques can help you keep your workers near as far as their performance and productivity are concerned.
Managing Remote Employees 101
For starters, there is no conventional definition of a remote employee. The term can refer to anyone who is working from home for the most part; sometimes, he or she goes to a shared office or someplace where he or she can communicate online.
As Gallup notes, the number of these remote employees is increasing as working arrangements are becoming more flexible. And for you or any in the management side to work well with your employees, you have to build trust, compassion, hope, and stability.
Now you can start.
Communicate Effectively and Regularly
Communication is key to business and human relations. You can communicate via emails and chat messages. But emails take time to compose, chats get buried, and written words become subject to different interpretations.
The most efficient way to correct misunderstandings is to do a quick call and huddle at the meeting room. You can set up Cisco TelePresence SX20 for videoconferencing, where everyone else can jump into the call wherever he or she may be.
Pro tip: use online calendars so your team can easily schedule a call with you, as needed. It will also help if you practice doing a weekly or biweekly meeting with the team.
Onboard Your Employees
It sets the tone perfectly and levels expectations between you and every new hire. You can set aside time for a one-on-one call offering a quick tour of the company and its culture, mission, and vision.
You can leave the nitty-gritty to the HR personnel; what’s important is to establish contact with the new employee and make him or her feel welcome.
Make Yourself Accessible at Least Online
When your status goes active, it means you are available for a question or two. This practice is of utmost importance especially if you and your team are hours apart. While no one expects you to answer right away because you are busy, respond when you can. The answer may be what is needed to get a task moving or done.
Moreover, take note of everyone’s schedule to be online. Most of your team members may have logged out or gone to sleep when you asked a question online.
Invest in the Right Tools
Truth to be told, you can’t afford to micromanage everyone and look over his or her shoulder for that matter. Take advantage of project management tools to see each worker’s progress across the board. These tools are not one size fits all, so be sure that they fit the nature of your projects and provide the data that you need.
Moreover, check the usability or user-friendliness of these tools. Your employees may be spending more time figuring out how to use the software than working on the task itself.
Focus on the Output or Outcome
From a business owner’s perspective, you want your workers to maximize their hours while on the clock, but direct supervision is out of the question.
Try to measure your workers’ productivity based on the quality, quantity, and timeliness of their output and the results they produced. For as long as your team is hitting the goals, then everything is good.
Trust Them to Do It
In the ideal world, your team members should be carrying out what you want. But your off-site workers may have ideas on how to implement the project different from what you have in mind. The compromise? Let them do it, and see if the project gets off the ground.
You may have to show trust that your team can get it done. If it doesn’t produce the results desired, then maybe try another method.
Meet and Treat
When was the last time your whole team went out for an outing, team building, or after-work partying with you around? Be sure to organize a company get-together when you are in town.
This occasion is perfect to get to know everyone on the team. It can be the start of a warm working relationship between you and the employees.
Times are changing; work is evolving. What you need to say, you can do with a camera, laptop, and the works, without traveling miles to do so. Having remote employees has its perks if you know how to manage them well for your business goals.