Hiring remote workers is not a new concept. Even before the pandemic, there have been businesses that employed talented people all over the world. In fact, some small businesses online have a full staff that works remotely.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, organizations needed to shift the way they manage work. Everyone was forced to work from home. For some, this transition became a challenge. Not only were they not prepared, but employees were lost in the process.
But as we are slowly returning to normal, some businesses want to continue having remote employees. They have found the benefits it provided for their business. Although it comes with challenges, working with remote workers creates more opportunities and outweighs the disadvantages.
If you are starting your online business or planning to shift to hiring remote workers, here’s your simple guide on how to manage remote workers.
How to Manage Remote Worker Successfully
Hire the Qualified and Right People
The hiring processes for remote workers are similar and different from office-based hiring at the same time. It’s similar in a way that you must hire highly skilled and qualified individuals for the job. Although trying on newbies won’t be harmful if the work doesn’t require a highly skilled position.
It’s different in a way that you need to gauge or see if a person can manage to work remotely. Online work is different. It requires a collaborative environment, most of the time.
Find out if people want to work or can work in this form of environment. See if they can work in a team.
Hiring the right and qualified person to do the job makes things easy.
Set Scheduled Check-ins
One way on how to manage remote staff is to check on them. The number of times you need to see what your team is up to depends on the type of work. If they work independently, you can check on them once or when needed.
For those working on highly collaborative projects, checking time can be more frequent to accomplish projects. Furthermore, teamwork requires group calls.
Always set a schedule regularly. Inform your employees when you’ll be in touch with them. Giving them predictability helps them stay prepared when questions are asked.
Trust Your Staff
Hiring remote workers can be a challenge, especially when speaking about trust. With plenty of scammers and people online who steal money, trusting people you cannot see and judge in person is difficult.
However, you have to get rid of trust issues. You need to trust that your employees are working with you for good. If you can’t trust them, then why did you hire them in the first place?
Provide Them with Essential Tools
Similar to working in the office, remote workers require tools for them to work productively and efficiently. You can do your research on what tools your business needs.
Here is an article about productivity tools you can use for your team.
The tools you’ll be using depends on the work you need to accomplish, team members, and features.
Some of the software to manage remote workers are the following:
- For paperwork and PDFs, using Kofax or Adobe Acrobat is an excellent option. These tools allow real-time collaboration with teammates. Here is a detailed comparison of Adobe Acrobat Pro vs. Standard, so you can choose which can work for your remote team.
- Cloud-based collaboration can be an option if you don’t want to install a software program. Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365 are good examples.
- A communication tool is the first you’ll have to think about. You’ll need something that allows you to call, chat, or start a conference without difficulties. Here are some samples of communication tools, Slack, Zoom, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Teams.
There are plenty of tools you can use aside from what’s mentioned above. You can buy or subscribe to tools for your remote marketing, sales, and other teams. Each department requires a specific set of software for them to accomplish their daily tasks.
You can also use time-tracking software like Time Doctor to manage and check on your employees’ productivity.
Provide Flexible Working Hours
Remote work is different from office-based work. The best perks employers can provide their employees is flexible working hours.
Flexible time for employees provides a great advantage to both the employer and employees. Employees can maintain a work-life balance that will affect the way they accomplish their tasks. Employees will be happier and engaged in their projects.
If you are worried that work won’t be accomplished, you can set boundaries like employees should inform when they are available. You can also set scheduled meetings ahead of time for calls and collaboration work to avoid problems on deadlines.
Provide Time for Social Interaction
Working remotely can be isolating. It can affect mental health and the work of your employees. Therefore, provide time for your employees to interact socially.
You can set time during a meeting so employees can chat about non-work topics, even for a short period. You can also host virtual parties for employees to have some time to relax.
Keeping your employees’ mental health in check can help them concentrate on their work.
Set Goals, Objectives, and Roles
Make sure that everything is crystal clear. Remote work needs an excellent communication system to deliver work better.
As the manager or business owner, you need to set goals and objectives. Be clear about what you expect from your employees instead of letting them guess what you want.
It’s also important to elaborate on their tasks and roles for a better workflow process.
Part of the things you need to set are policies, such as cybersecurity practices, work time, and more.
Setting rules and goals give everyone a clear view of what to do. It prevents misunderstanding and confusion.
Encourage and Support Your Team
Even working from home or away from the office can be stressful. Employers must recognize if their employees are experiencing burnout.
Talk to your employees about their work. Ask them how they are doing and if they are struggling. Recognizing that your employees can get burnt out even at home can help reduce stress.
Listen to what they have to say and offer them solutions or words of encouragement.
Prioritizing your employees’ mental health can boost their morale and workflow.
Focus on the Output
Many remote employers make the mistake of checking on the process rather than the output. As a result, employees are forced to work out of their convenience. When this happens, results are undesirable or not of high quality.
Don’t measure your employees’ productivity in their work process. The output is the most vital aspect.
People have different ways of completing their work. Some can make quality output in hours.
Meanwhile, others need time to give you their best work. Therefore, focus on what your employees can offer to you.
Give Recognition or Praise
Recognizing or praising your employees for doing a great job can increase their morale. In return, they’ll maintain working in such a manner or improve them.
Also, when recognizing someone on your team, others are inclined to do their best too. You can give them tokens, recognize them during a conference, or provide incentives.
Together with praising their work, you can also provide feedback. Make sure that the feedback you provide is focused on their work, not on personal matters.
Collaboration is crucial for the success of a project. If remote workers know how to communicate and collaborate, work can be accomplished faster and better.
You can use collaborative tools to help them with their tasks, encourage collaboration and communication, and build trust within the team.
Don’t forget to set rules on how your team should respond to one another when needed for a project. Are they allowed to send quick messages when busy? Or, should they respond immediately?
Listen to Your Remote Workers
Leaders should be good listeners. It is one of the crucial qualities they need to have.
Employers must learn to listen to what their employees have to say. It’s important to respect their thoughts, suggestions, and sentiments.
Listening without judgment is needed.
You can ask your employees for feedback on how rules are working for the remote work setting. Then, use your employees’ feedback to improve the work environment.
Avoid micromanaging your team. Trust that they can do their job well. If you don’t trust your team, they will find it hard to work and finish their task.
You can check on them individually to avoid micromanaging and to see if tasks are accomplished. It can be done daily or weekly.
Trust that what your employees report to you is true and that they are meeting their goals.
Managing a remote team is difficult, but having the patience and right tools can help you and your team reach your goals.
Why Hire Remote Workers?
Hiring remote workers come with a challenge, but it also brings advantages. Here are the benefits of hiring remote workers to grow your business.
- Reduces costs like office rent, insurance, furniture, and other supplies
- Improves productivity as they focus on their work rather than get distracted by coworkers
- Increased employee retention happens as people are more productive and are satisfied
- Get a wide selection of talented workers
- Lower environmental impact due to less commute from workers
- Enhanced communication as workers are required to report tasks and improvements daily
- Better time management as workers can focus on work, require less time to commute, and have no tardiness and absences.