Effectively managing remote workers can be a challenge. Even for those skilled and experienced in the business world, new challenges present themselves when working with someone remotely rather than in person. Yet, working remotely is becoming increasingly common. One study shows a 4% increase in remote workers over a period of 4 years. As remote workers become more common, it is crucial for companies to learn how to effectively manage remote workers. There are many strategies and tips that can help aid this process and create an effective and productive work environment for you and your employees.
Be clear about your expectations regarding quality standards
Much like managing employees in person, you need to set clear, obtainable goals for your employees. You can more effectively manage remote workers when they know exactly what you expect from them and how to accomplish it. Be clear with deadlines as well as quality expectations. Letting your remote workers know what’s expected helps keep them focused and motivated to accomplish their tasks in a quick and efficient manner.
Communicate and follow up with your employees on a consistent basis
Nothing cripples a company like poor communication. Remote workers need even more communication than employees you interact with in person. While you shouldn’t micromanage your remote workers, be sure to follow up with them on a regular basis. Communicate as often as necessary to assure you’re on the same page. Confirm that work is being accomplished and answer any questions they may have. One report on workplace communication shows that only 5.9% of companies communicate workplace goals on a daily basis. You may consider having a regular meeting between all pertinent workers to create a sense of unity among your team. Effective communication keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the same thing. Following up with your remote workers will boost quality and productivity.
Be sure they are properly equipped with the tools needed to accomplish their task
Once you have set clear standards and effectively communicated them with your remote workers, ensure that you properly equip them to meet those standards. Do they need a specific tool or software to effectively complete their work? If so, guide them through obtaining that. It’s unfair to require a certain level of excellence from someone who is unequipped to meet it. Set your remote workers up for success so that they, in turn, can help you succeed.
Plan one-on-ones with your employees to review performance
Have routine meetings with each employee where you can go over their previous work. Discuss whether or not they met standards, ask why or why not, and answer any questions they may have. Just as companies have performance reviews with their employees, you should make time to discuss each individual and their contribution to your company in an official manner.
Be gracious, yet firm
As you work with remote employees, problems will inevitably occur, just as they would in any workplace. There are several studies on why it is important to be understanding in times of difficulty and to help work through any problems your team may be experiencing. Perhaps a remote worker experiences problems with their connection during a meeting, or maybe a particular employee is difficult to contact. Whatever the reason, try to be understanding of the challenges that come with remote workers. 92% of employees say that they’re more likely to stay at their job if their bosses showed more empathy. However, be firm with your employees in regards to your expectations.
If you find an employee is repeatedly running into the same “issues”, address it. While you should be understanding and gracious, problems or excuses should be dealt with just as any company would address them. Keep your business professional and continue to build your remote team into one that accomplishes your vision and benefits those involved. You can do this by effectively managing remote workers.
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