Hiring remote employees has become increasingly popular in recent years. Employers are beginning to recognize the benefits of remote workers: lower overhead costs, wider pool of qualified candidates and lower turnover.
But organizations with remote employees are still struggling with how to effectively manage those who work from home. If this sounds familiar, follow these tips to better manage your remote workers:
Schedule Weekly Video Meetings
Communication is key when dealing with any employee. Remote employees are no different. That’s why you should make time each week to have a video meeting. Impersonal communication like email can leave a remote worker feeling unengaged. You want them to feel like a part of the team as much as your in-house employees do. Plus, video meetings allow you to see their body language, which can be a better indicator of what they are really thinking than their verbal communication.
Set Up an Instant Messaging System
Video conferencing is great for your weekly meetings, but you need the ability to constantly communicate with your remote workers. Instant messaging systems can open up the lines of communication even further, enabling you to quickly connect with your remote employees. It’s the remote employee version of popping into someone’s office or stopping by their cube for a quick question.
Measure Productivity, Not Hours
Traditionally, employers measure employee performance in part by when they show up and when they leave. Obviously, this is impossible to do with your remote workers. Rather than focusing on when they clock in and out, establish a system that measures a remote workers productivity instead of hours worked. Set goals, timelines and deadlines for projects. Employ a project management system that tracks your remote employees’ progress. Make sure to review their goals in your weekly video meetings to keep them on track and productive.
Meet Face to Face
A few times a year, make time to meet with your remote employees in-person. Encourage them to attend important events or yearly all-company meetings. Invite them to team building exercises, even if you know they won’t be able to attend. They may not be able to make it to everything, but the simple act of inviting them will make them feel as though they are part of the team. And when you are able to meet them face to face, it will help to strengthen your relationship and remind them that they are an important part of your organization.