Offering remote work opportunities is becoming increasingly common in the workplace. This is a major perk for many employees, and can be a huge selling point for companies looking to stay competitive in a cutthroat marketplace. However, managing remote employees requires a different approach than you might take when you’re managing a team situated just down the hall. Here are some tips for ensuring that your employees feel connected to your business and the company culture, regardless of where they get their work done:
Be extra vigilant about communicating
We often underestimate the amount of communicating that gets done in an informal way. This means when you’re walking to the bathroom, grabbing a drink of water, or going to get something off of the printer. When you’ve got team members working remotely, these opportunities for communication no longer exist. Because of this, you’ll need to make extra efforts to communicate with your team. Let them know that they can reach out whenever they need to, and make yourself accessible via the phone, video chat, and e-mail.
Find a way to create a sense of camaraderie
Employees who are working remotely may miss out on the sense of teamwork you enjoy when you’re in the office every day. Develop creative ways to make sure everyone feels included. You should set goals for the team, schedule regular conference calls, and make sure that your remote employees get to know one another, even if they’re not spending all day in the office together.
Make it a point to offer praise and feedback to your team members
You’ll want to issue regular praise and feedback to your employees, just as you would if they were in your office. It’s easy to forget about this when you don’t see these individuals daily, but make sure that this is a regular part of the routine. Employees should know what they’re doing well and where they can improve. This way the job feels like a career and not a series of mindless tasks that they do at home alone.
Trust your employees, but find a way to hold them accountable
If you’re giving your team the benefit of working from home, let them enjoy it fully and don’t try to micromanage them to compensate for the fact that you can’t see them. At the same time, you’ll need to have some way to measure everyone’s productivity. Employees should have goals to hit on both a short and long-term basis in order to illustrate that they’re actually working during the day and not taking advantage of a work-from-home policy.
Virtual employees can be highly productive, engaged members of your team when managed properly. Learn how to make them feel included and you’ll find that you get their best work and plenty of positive energy, even when they’re not in the office.