Managing remote employees – use these 5 tips from the pros

5 min read

Managing remote employees is not easy. Sometime back, we surveyed over 40 small businesses to find best practices you can use for managing remote employees.

Every business in our survey said that working remotely is a win-win for both the employer and the employee. The key is how well you manage your remote workforce.

Most businesses in the survey reported the following benefits of employing remote workers:

  • Ability to hire the best talent irrespective of location
  • Savings on office expenses

Most businesses also said that remote employees are as productive, if not more, than employees working in the same office.

But hiring remote employees also has its challenges:

  • Managing remote employees requires different skill as you can’t physically monitor them.
  • Reviewing work and providing feedback is difficult.
  • If you have multiple remote employees, it’s hard to keep them moving in the same direction.

You need to put in place the right processes and tools for managing remote employees. Here is how you can do it well:

5 Keys to Manage Remote Workers

1. Hire the right people

Let’s face it- not everyone can be a remote worker. Everyone loves the flexibility of working remotely. But only some have the attitude and discipline to be productive as remote employees.

When hiring a remote employee, look for people who can work independently.  It’s always easier to manage a self-starter, more so when he works remotely.

Good remote workers have a positive attitude and motivation to do their job well. You don’t want people who always need a push to complete the task. It will be a nightmare if you have to micro-manage your remote employees. A good remote employee will not wait for you to ask for updates or assign tasks. Rather, he or she will proactively update you on the status and schedule.

Increase productivity, take screenshots, track time and cost, and bring accountability to your team.

Always hire employees who communicate well as it’s the key to a successful remote team. The better your remote employees understand your instructions and communicate with you, the easier it will be to manage them.

Here are some tools/services you can use to search for and hire remote workers:

  • LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, is also one the best places for hiring workers.
  • Craigslist is a classifieds website where you can post jobs. It is particularly great for hiring remote workers in the US.
  • You can use freelance sites like Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer to hire freelancers as per your needs. However, these sites charge a fee from both employer and employee. You are better off using a tool like HiveDesk for managing remote employees.

2. Define work clearly to your remote employees

Explain what you want from your remote employees and when you want it.

This sets clear expectations and timelines for your remote employees. They will know how you will measure their performance and what they need to do to meet the goals. There is no better way for managing remote employees than using well-defined and measurable goals.

Businesses in our survey identified it as one of the most critical factors in managing remote employees.

3. Track progress of your remote employees

Be sure to track the progress of your remote employees daily. You stay on top of project status and eliminate nasty surprises later by reviewing work every day.

Give your remote workers periodic feedback to ensure they are heading in the right direction.

Here are some tools you can use to track time, project status, and tasks:

  • HiveDesk is a time tracking software for managing remote employees. You can create automatic timesheets, capture screenshots, track project & tasks, and measure productivity with HiveDesk.. Start your 14-day free trial.
  • Hubstaff is a staff monitoring software with screenshots the activity levels.
  • Asana is a project management software that allows you to organize to-do lists, projects & meeting information, conversations, and emails in an easy-to-read dashboard.
  • Trello is a project management tool that allows you to manage tasks and projects.

4. Communicate frequently

It’s hard to keep all employees on the same page if you have multiple remote employees.

You cannot walk up to a remote employee to discuss issues. Therefore, it’s important for your remote team to communicate frequently. You can identify issues early and manage them better with frequent communication.

Everyone in your remote team should be easily accessible through email, chat, phone or a team communication tool. It’s a good idea to:

  • Schedule weekly meetings with your remote employees.
  • Use a chat tool to discuss issues in real time.
  • Use screen sharing if & when needed to explain tasks

You can use one or more of the following tools to improve communication with your remote employees:

  • Skype is a communication and collaboration tool that combines video, voice and text chat.
  • Google Hangout is a free communication platform from Google which includes instant messaging, video chat, & SMS.
  • Slack is a team messaging app ideal for remote teams. It has a free version that works well for small teams. Most businesses in our survey use Slack and found it extremely useful in managing remote workers.
HiveDesk Features Bring accountability to your team

5. Measure performance and compare output

If you want to get the most out of your remote employees, you need to measure their performance as least once a month.

Analyze how much time an employee spends on each task. You can use the data to measure the productivity of remote employees in your team. You can also see if your remote employees are as productive as those working in the office.

You should also monitor the quality of output from your remote employees. If the team delivers quality output the first time, you will save time and money spent on fixing it later.

What do you think of this list of tips for managing remote employees?

Please share it with your team and followers on social media. You can also embed this infographic on your site by copying and pasting the embed code below:

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