The level of oversight and support you can provide to a remote worker is far less compared to someone working in office. If the remote worker is in a different time zone or country, it is even harder to manage her.
So how do you manage such employees effectively?
We surveyed dozens of small businesses across the US employing remote workers to find best practices for managing them.
Here are the top five lessons you can implement in your business:
1. Hire the Right Person
Since you cannot hand hold or support a remote worker the way you can support an employee in office, it is important to hire self-starters as remote workers. Look for people who are driven, take responsibility for their work and take pride in what they do.
A self-managing remote worker will save you a lot of time and will be more productive. It does not mean you don’t need to support her; you do. But you would not need to hand hold her and she will be productive a lot sooner.
2. Set Clear Expectations
You should set clear expectations about deliverable and timelines for your remote workers.
They cannot walk into your office to discuss work and get guidance. So it is important they know exactly what you want from them and when.
While you can use time tracking apps like HiveDesk to track time spent by a remote worker on your project, you need to make sure there is tangible output, and on time.
Explain what you want from your remote employees and when you want it, how her work is going to be measured and how she will be rewarded.
3. Track Progress Regularly
Once you set clear expectations and timelines, you need to ensure the remote workers make progress towards the goal every day of the week. You don’t want to know on the last day that the work is not going to be completed on time.
By tracking work done by your remote workers every day, you stay on top of their work and can identify potential problems as they arise instead of waiting till the end.
Resolving work issues may take more time in case of remote workers due to different time zones and schedules. So you want to find out potential problems as early as possible.
4. Communicate Regularly
If you are managing a remote team, timely and effective communication between you and team members becomes critical. You need to ensure that all team members are on the same page and understand their roles clearly.
Communicating regularly is a key part of avoiding confusion in a remote team. You should always err on the side of over communicating, not under. In addition to regular meetings, talk or chat with every member individually and frequently.
5. Measure and Compare
Even though remote workers are as productive as those in office are, you should measure everyone’s productivity in your team. A data driven analysis will give you peace of mind as well as provide a way to evaluate and reward performers.
But don’t just monitor hours spent and output delivered. Pay attention to quality of work as well to ensure the remote employees are delivering the quality your customers expect.
You can see the full survey result and report in our blog post Managing Remote Employees.