For many companies where the nature of the work required is not geographically dependent, it makes economic sense to outsource the work to a region where staffing costs are not as expensive. This can be a very effective business strategy, but it does require some degree of management to ensure that tasks are being completed on time and to a satisfactory standard. The following tips should help to make sure that remote working becomes a valuable benefit to both the company and their remote employees.
1. Ensure That Everyone Understands The Expectations
At the start of any project or task, give clear and written instructions, set deadlines and checkpoints along the way. Ensure that your employees understand what is expected of them, don’t just assume they do. In the initial phases of employment contact should be daily, and quite invasive. This does not mean being overbearing, but you need to be certain that your employees are completing the tasks to a satisfactory standard. Good software can be the key here using a project management tool such as Wrike.
2. Be Available And Encourage An Open Communication Policy
Consider some method of secure communication such as Skype, and encourage all managers to communicate regularly. If there is a query, it is important that the remote workers have the confidence to ask questions to clarify that question, rather than waste hours completing the task incorrectly.
3. Make An Effort To Get To Know Your Staff On An Individual Basis
If you employ staff in an office, there are office meals, parties, and other social events, which enable everyone to form a more personal relationship. This encourages team work and gives a sense of belonging to all members of the team. When you are using remote workers, this is obviously not an option, so it is important to build up a relationship with that extends beyond the working relationship. By showing an interest in their personal circumstances, you will build up a good working rapport, and increase the loyalty of the employee to the company. This will pay dividends many times over, and its value cannot be underestimated.
4. Make All Of Your Employees Feel A Part Of The Team
It can be very difficult to fully embrace all of your team if 50 percent of them are half way around the world. Do everything in your power to empower and embrace all members of your team. Little things such as asking for their opinion on a topic can go a long way towards making them feel valued and included. And it is entirely possible that they will have some excellent ideas that will benefit the project.
5. Make Use Of Video Communication If Possible
While text and instant messages can be excellent forms of communication tools, it is entirely possible to misinterpret a message in pure text form. Wherever possible embrace video technology such as Skype or Facebook Messenger to fully interact with and communicate with your staff. This way you will build rapport and just as importantly build a relationship with your staff.
6. Remember And Celebrate Birthdays
Just as you might celebrate a birthday in the office, log all of your employee’s birthdays in Outlook, or some other piece of calendar software. Then you will automatically be reminded of a birthday and can wish that member of staff a Happy Birthday. While this may seem a small thing, it will demonstrate to your staff that you are taking an interest in them and make them feel special. This, in turn, will ensure they feel valued and an important part of the team. It might only take a few minutes, but it can have a huge impact on your business.
Managing a team of workers remotely doesn’t have to be any more difficult that managing a local team. It may require utilizing different skills and make more effort to connect with the remote workers, but the benefits can far outweigh any minor issues. Provided you complete your due diligence and employ a great team of people, hiring remote workers can be a huge boon to your company.