4 Tips for Managing Remote Employees Effectively
There are a lot of benefits that come with hiring remote employees. But some challenges arise from managing remote workers, including
- the inability to physically monitor them
- learning new ways to engage them, so they continue moving toward the company’s overall goals
- learning how to review their work and give them feedback constructively
If you are considering a remote work policy – or you’ve already hired staff members that work from home, here are four tips for managing them more effectively.
1. Consider their individual needs
Every person needs different things from their manager, and that’s especially true when you hire team members who work from home.
For example, some workers might feel isolated working from home, so look for ways to make them feel more included. Other people, however, might enjoy the ability to work alone, so schedule regular check-ins, but try not to interrupt them too often. Some of your staff members might like the freedom of working whenever and wherever they want, while others might need your help setting up boundaries and routines.
2. Communicate clearly
It’s easy for a worker to understand what you expect of them when they can pop into your office to ask questions. Your remote staff also needs to understand their responsibilities. That means that you need to set clear deadlines and parameters for any task you ask them to complete. To help your staff stay on track, consider setting up regular checkpoints for any long-term projects.
For example, if an employee needs to submit something to a client in two months, ask them to check in with you several times between now and then. That way, you can make sure they’re moving in the right direction, and you can clear up any misunderstandings well before the deadline.
To effectively communicate with your remote team, decide how often you want them to check in. You might require that they send you weekly progress reports. You could even schedule video conferences once a month.
To help you communicate better, utilize a tech tool like Slack to chat with your team in real-time. You can message individuals or set up channels. You might decide to create a water cooler channel so your staff can have casual conversations and build friendships with their coworkers, even though they might be on opposite sides of the country.
For video calls, Google Hangouts is one service that allows your employees to have face-to-face conversations, which can help alleviate any misunderstandings that come from only talking through text.
3. Align tasks to strengths
Just as you would with a traditional employee, take the time to learn your remote worker’s strengths. Start to build their confidence – which will help them be more productive – by assigning them jobs that match those strengths. As they continue their career with you, find out their long-term goals and help them learn the skills necessary to be successful. You can do this by
- partnering them with someone else in your company with those skills
- helping them find continuing education opportunities
- assigning them work that will allow them to learn those skills hands-on
4. Instill trust
When you hire remote employees, you are trusting them to do their work well independently. Likewise, they need to be able to rely on you and their coworkers. Build trust by keeping your promises, regularly communicating, and letting them know who to turn to when they need help or have questions.
Build a solid working foundation with your remote worker by scheduling plenty of facetime during their initial onboarding. This may mean bringing them to your office for a few days to meet their coworkers or scheduling extra video conferences in the beginning. You might also try to get everyone together in person at least once a year. During these meetings, allow plenty of time for socialization and team building activities so your remote staff can build strong relationships with their coworkers.