An increase in the number of remote workers is one of the trends in the business sphere. Employers take this step to reduce the cost of jobs, especially if a company lacks a spacious physical office. Employees choose this option of employment, because it is convenient for them. However, there may be problems associated with the organization of their work, for example, due to lack of proper communication. Therefore, the proper remote business management is very important for the development of your company.
Below we will tell you about the best ways of managing remote employees.
Encourage Employees’ Motivation
It is a well-known fact that without proper motivation employees simply will not work properly. They must have a goal. The financial side is not the key point. It is important for workers to feel their significance for the business and to take part in its development. An employee may find it hard to maintain motivation if he / she works alone in a remote corner of the world.
As part of your remote business management, you can ask your employees for advice and tell them about the prospects of your business (if appropriate). You can also have Hack Days on the last Thursday every month. These are casual cultural events where members of your team can work on what they are interested in, and then present demo results of their work at the end of the event.
Provide High-Quality Communication
You know, communication is very important both in the usual workplace and for managing remote employees. Therefore, it is recommended to hold regular online meetings. These can be short daily calls via Skype or Google+ hangout on a daily basis, as well as longer weekly meetings for long-term goals. Daily huddles are well suited for teaming up and agreeing on goals for the remainder of the day. But do not over-control your workers (read about it below).
It is also important to choose the most convenient way of communication. It can be a chat, for example, with the help of Slack messenger, Telegram, etc. Matt Doyle from Excel Builders advises to make sure that your entire team is constantly using one chat, so that everyone is aware of who is doing what.
In addition, it is important to plan everything so that you know when an employee can get in touch if an urgent matter arises. For example, you can live in the US while your worker – in Europe, so there may be problems due to the difference in time zones. What should you do to ensure managing remote employees efficiently? You can make up a schedule where remote employees will daily mark the period during which they can communicate.
Conduct Face-to-Face Meetings
The best practices for managing remote teams include regular face-to-face meetings. If your team knows that you are ready for online tete-a-tete meetings, this will increase the level of trust in the company. It is recommended to remove the barriers of communication, because the most important thing in your business is people. In this way, you will also increase the level of motivation. When managing remote workers, let them know that you appreciate them, that you have time to communicate directly with them.
Set Up and Use Project Management Software
Small teams can process all workflows via email. But this is inefficient. Project management systems will be useful for managing remote employees, as they help to conveniently organize all documents and projects into a single system.
Some of the best project management software tools include:
Define & Fix Each Task
Using the convenient software for project management, you will be always aware of what exactly the employee is supposed to do and will be able to know the status of the task. If your worker receives a clear task and a clear deadline fixed by the software, he / she cannot say that he / she misunderstood the task or did not know about the deadline. Of course, responsible employees always do everything correctly and on time, but they can sometimes miss or forget something. Therefore, use all the capabilities of project management systems, setting clear objectives & deadlines.
Ensure Smooth Onboarding for New Hires
Managing remote workers, create a system in which participants can quickly find out information about the project. You must have a set of documentation containing detailed information about the project, the requirements for doing the job, instructions, and more. If new workers quickly adjust to your work environment, you will save time. This also emphasizes the need for clearly defined processes in your business for managing remote employees effectively.
In addition, create training programs (for example, video tutorials) that will introduce your business and daily processes to new workers.
Use Cloud Services
Using cloud services is also one of the best practices for managing remote teams.
Access to instructions and documents should be available to all employees who need it. Cloud services are a great way to provide it. For example, instructions can be in Google Docs, and tables can be placed in Google Sheets. They provide an opportunity to work without being tied to employees’ location.
Another example: programmers use Github. They say that this is convenient, because both the code and tasks are stored in one place. There is also a BambooHR product that stores information about all workers, insurance, reports, holidays, weekends.
Check the Work But Don’t Be Annoying
If an employee sees that you are interested in the progress of the work, he / she will mobilize and finish it on time or even faster. However, there should be a sense of balance
Do not be very bothersome and strict when managing remote employees. Do not constantly monitor the effectiveness and time of their work, give them the degree of freedom that is needed by remote workers. Constant surveillance and monitoring of each step can cause stress and reduce the effectiveness of work.
In this case, the notions of communication and control should not be confused. If you have a remote accountant / secretary, you can give him her tasks during the day due to the specifics of his work. If you have a copywriter with a task for a few days, do not bother him / her until the end of the deadline, if there is no reason.
By the way, the fear that the employee will not do what is needed is a common factor that keeps managers from implementing remote work.
Keep Track of Working Hours
If you pay a worker for the time worked, not for a specific result, you may most likely need to keep track of time as a part of managing remote workers process. If your employee is in the office, you can see what he is doing even without using special time-tracking apps. When managing remote employees, it can be difficult for the manager to understand what the employee is doing now, how long and on what he /she has been working. Some people are sufficiently motivated and do not need time tracking. But others need a certain level of discipline when working at home. Time tracking systems are useful for managing remote employees. They are able to show the manager whether the employee is working or communicating with friends in Facebook Messenger.
- Time Doctor
The Bottom Line on Managing Remote Employees
The experience of many successful companies has dispelled the myth that remote work is ineffective. Remote work can be very suitable for some employees, whereas in some cases it is better to choose a traditional office option. But with proper and effective system of managing remote employees, it can even surpass the efficiency of office work. In particular, your support service can be on call around the clock, if you have workers from different time zones.