Being a manager is no easy task, but managing remote employees can be even more challenging. With little to no idea about how they spend their time, it can be difficult to know how dedicated your employees are and where and when to ask for more. But, if you work with your remote employees in a way that supports the remote work system, there are plenty of ways to make sure that you are remaining productive while still maintaining a positive work environment.
Of course, it doesn’t have to just apply to employees. Many businesses and individuals hire freelance workers to complete specific tasks for them. A website owner may hire a freelance graphic designer to design them a new logo for an upcoming product, or an accountant to manage their finances.
Either way, here are some tips to help you manage people who work remotely for you:
How To Manage Remote Employees
1. Recognize Their Preferred Work Flow
Working remotely is an entirely different animal than working in an office. Employees have to rely on their own discipline, not a 9-5 schedule in order to get things done. There are many benefits and drawbacks to working this way, but the main distinction is that employees need to find a work flow that works best for their needs. Managing remote employees effectively and compassionately means acknowledging that everyone has different ways of getting things done. Rather than trying to mold all your remote employees to an unnecessary time frame or work method, simply let them do what they need to do to get it done, and only interfere when it causes real problems for you.
2. Let Them Know How You Work
Most misunderstandings between remote employees and their managers occur when there is a lack of communication about what the manager needs to do his or her job efficiently. It’s possible that, while there is no set time frame during the day, it works much better for you to deal with specific projects in the morning and others later in the day. Instead of wishing your employees would get things in faster, simply let them know what you need from them in order to get your own work done. First, though, make sure to figure out which issues are preferences and which are necessities. If you bog down your employees with your own workday preferences and seem unconcerned with theirs, then that could drastically reduce morale.
3. Give Feedback Consistently
Feedback is more important for remote employees than anyone else. Because you don’t have the ability to interact in person, giving feedback is a way to stay connected and in communication. Remote managers often make the mistake of not bringing up small errors because they don’t want to deal with the time it takes to explain what they really need. But, this is the surest way to make your day much more difficult and to resent employees that don’t even know they are doing anything wrong. Give feedback directly, to each worker individually, so they know they are being targeted. And never forget to give positive feedback where it’s due. Sometimes managers interact the least with the employees who are doing the best work, but that shouldn’t be the case. Let employees know where they stand at all times.
4. Lay Down The Law & Stick To It!
If there are deadlines that always need to be met or particular things that must be accomplished on a regular basis, your employees should know that their jobs depend on getting those things done in a timely manner. Remote employees, especially because they design their own work hours, need to know the bottom line that is expected from them, the reasons behind it, and the consequences of not meeting it. Rather than waiting until problems occur, set out distinct guidelines that employees must meet or consider themselves fired. Period. This is much easier than having to deal with a problem employee for months, hoping the situation improves.
5. Gauge Productivity By The Final Product
As managers of remote employees, there is really no way to know when people are working and when they’re not. Even if an employee is logged in to a particular platform, that doesn’t mean any work is being done, and it doesn’t mean that the work is of high quality. With remote employees, the only way to judge their performance is by the quality and consistency of their finished work. Rather than getting down on someone for minor issues, always remember that the final output is what’s most important.
Do you work with remote employees? If so, how else would you recommend managing remote workers? Perhaps you yourself work remotely? If so, how do you like to be treated by your employer to get the most out of you? Let us know your views and opinions by leaving a comment below!
Thank you to my Guest Post Author: Karen Smith
Karen is a freelance writer and business blogger whose primary goal is to inform her readers about pursuing a business degree online. She also enjoys writing about small business trends, Internet marketing, personal development, and sustainable living. Karen welcomes your comments below!