Published 17 October 2018 Category: Compass Tips, Outsourcing, Project Management

Tips for Managing Remote Workers

Thanks to the internet, millions of people across the world are able to make a living right from the comfort of their couch. For thousands of businesses, having remote workers helps them hire talent from across the globe without spending thousands of dollars on overhead & hiring costs. Remote working is the future of work and already large organizations are embracing this culture, however, managing remote workers may not be an easy job if you don’t have a good system in place. Remote workforce management relies heavily on a few best practices which if adopted can help you find success and ensure productivity goals are met. Here are a few tips for managing remote workers.

Get to Know Your Remote Workers

While it’s easy to get to know employees who work right across the desk, it’s difficult to know about remote workers. To remedy this, keep communication channels with your remote employees open. Schedule bi-weekly video calls and talk to your employees about their goals, their struggles and what kind of help they need in achieving their goals. Remote employees do not often have the social skills of full-time employees especially since they usually work in isolation, but when you create a warm virtual environment where they can communicate with you and with other team members, it helps them to stay productive.

Have a Process in Place

Much like traditional jobs, remote jobs need defined processes and a strong plan to make it successful. Having a clear contract with expectations and KPIs clearly outlined is vital to make things work. There needs to be a hiring and orientation process in place, have meeting schedules and web-conferencing in place and so on. From tracking hours, managing productivity, setting goals and managing motivation, there should be proper systems and processes in place.

Make Efficient Use of Multiple Project Management Tools

When working with remote employees, you need to have efficient project management tools in place. These tools will help you with daily task assignments, progress reports, project completion timelines, coordination between various members and so on. Asana, Trello, BaseCamp, Atlassian Cloud etc are some of the best and most popular tools out there to manage remote employees.

Set a System of Communication

Communication has to be smartly handled when managing remote staff. When is the best time to email, send a Whatsapp message or communicate on Slack? Where should links or reports be sent? When should a text message be sent and in case of time-zone differences when should the member be available for other members to communicate with.

Avoid Micromanagement

The impulse is quite tempting to continuously monitor your remote workers’ time and demand for their immediate attention. Remember, just because they work from home doesn’t mean they have to be at your beck and call. Also, if you obsess over the number of hours given instead of the number of goals achieved, it’s easy to create a stifling atmosphere. Hire a remote team only if you believe you can truly let go of micromanaging and can trust them enough to accomplish their goals.

Managing a remote team may not be as easy as it seems, but as you keep your processes and your plans in alignment, you will eventually be able to tackle it as you go. For those who are new to remote team management, start by taking out time to understand your employees and what they are capable of achieving. Once you set a close rapport with them, start working on achieving your goals one by one. The key to a great remote team is trust; without which no team can thrive.