5 Keys To Effectively Managing Remote Employees

Do you need help managing remote employees?

We surveyed a number of small businesses who employ remote employees to find best practices you can implement to manage them in your own business.

Companies in our survey say working remotely is a win-win for both the employer and the employee provided you can manage them well. Employers can hire the best talent irrespective of location and save on office expenses. Every company we spoke to said that remote employees are as productive, if not more, than employees working in the same office.

Although hiring remote employees has its advantages, it also has its own challenges. You need to put in place right processes and tools for effectively managing remote employees.

Top 5 Tips from the survey for effectively Managing Remote Employees:

1. Hire Right People

The most important thing in managing remote employees is to hire the right ones.

Let’s face it- not everyone is cut out to be a remote worker. While everyone loves the flexibility of working remotely, only some have the attitude and discipline to be productive when working remotely. When hiring a remote employee, always look for people who can work independently, without wasting time waiting for your response to a query. Give your remote employees every support but do not spoon feed them.

Hire people who are positive and motivated. 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 worker should not wait for you to ask for updates or assign tasks. Rather he or she should proactively update you on the status and plan his or her schedule.

Be sure to hire good listeners and Communicators as it is key to a successful remote team. The better your remote employees grasp your instructions and communicate, the better output they will give and the easier it will be for you to manage them.

Here are the most effective tools 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 – A classified advertisement website with sections devoted to jobs. It is particularly great for hiring workers in the US.
  • Freelance Sites like Upwork, Toptal, Freelancer – You can hire freelancers as per your requirement on these sites. However, these sites charge a hefty fee from both employer and employee making them expensive for ongoing work. Using a tool like HiveDesk to manage remote employees and PayPal to pay them will save both sides money.

2. Define work clearly to your remote workforce

Explain what you want from your remote employees and when you want it. This sets clear expectations and timelines for you to  monitor the employees. Your employees will know how they are going to be measured and what they need to do to meet the goals. There is no better way to manage employees, remote or otherwise, than using well defined and measurable goals.

Companies in our survey identified it as one of the most critical factors in managing remote teams.

3. Track the progress of your remote team

Be sure to track the progress of your project on a day to day basis. It avoids a lot of confusion caused due to communication gap. Reviewing the progress daily ensures you know exact status of each project and eliminates nasty surprises later.

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

Here are some Popular Task Management tools:

  • HiveDesk – A project & task management software which tracks the time spent on tasks with screenshots. Start your 14-day free trial.
  • Hubstaff – A staff monitoring software with screenshots the activity levels.
  • Asana – 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 – A project management tool that allows you to manage simple tasks and projects.

4. Communicate Frequently

Another big hurdle is the challenge of keeping all the employees on same page. Since people cannot walk up to each other in a remote team and ask questions, it is important for everyone to communicate frequently. Frequent communication ensures that small issues do not hold up the work.

Everyone in your remote team should be easily accessible through email, chat, phone or a team communication tool. You need to:

  • Schedule Weekly Meetings with the team
  • Use local chatting tool to convey any immediate support/action needed
  • Use screen sharing if & when needed to explain tasks

Here are a few popular tools to fill the Communication Gap:

  • Skype – A communication and collaboration tool that combines video, voice and text chat.
  • Google Hangout – A free communication platform from Google which includes instant messaging, video chat, & SMS.
  • Slack – A team messaging app ideal for remote teams.
  • Hipchat – An online team Communication platform, similar to skype but for a larger team.

5. Measure and Compare

Analyse how much time is spent on each task by an employee at least once a month. You can use the data to compare productivity of individuals in your team. You can also see if your remote employees are as productive as those working in the office.

In addition to measuring productivity, you should also monitor the quality of output from your remote workforce. Ensuring the team delivers quality output first time will eliminate time and money spent on fixing it later.

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

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