In the modern world that we live in, talented and highly skilled people are everywhere. It is slowly becoming the new norm for companies to hire people from other cities and sometimes other countries. Although having remote employees and managing a remote team have its own challenges, when managed successfully, it may save your company a lot of money. Below you can find the key points of managing remote employees effectively.
- Communication is the Key: Communicate clearly with your remote employees. If possible, use visual communication techniques such as video conferencing. Share your screen during meetings. Use screenshots or diagrams in your emails to better explain what you want them to do. Use chat platforms when talking about work as a group. Also, make sure your remote employees are not forgotten. Chit chat with them for a few minutes after the meeting is over.
- Encourage Collaboration: Have a document management system in place for sharing documents and files. Tools like Google Drive and Dropbox are great for this. Don’t rely on emails for sharing files because they might get lost and people can have a hard time tracking the latest version and the changes made. Give them the tools they need to work efficiently and make sure everyone is on board with these. There are also many other free tools available for virtual teams.
- Set Clear Expectations: Every week make status meetings with your remote employees. Walk through the tasks expected from him/her. Set his/her goals. Establish a timeline. Give feedback about his/her progress. Have a formal process for reviewing his/her performance. If your remote employee doesn’t know how s/he is performing, then s/he cannot motivate him/herself for doing better.
- Track His/Her Work: Implement tracking systems. Don’t micromanage your remote employees. Give them the flexibility they need but don’t completely leave them on their own. You can ask them to put in their work hours, if they are getting paid based on hours and you can track, if they really work these many hours or spend time surfing on the internet using a time tracking software.
- Make Them Feel Part of the Team: Send them newsletters about what is going on within the company. Show that you remember and care about them. Establish rapport with them and try to get to know them on a personal level. Send them gifts during holidays. If possible, invite them to the main office once a year and get together as a big team.