Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

How to Properly Manage Virtual Workers

How to Properly Manage Virtual WorkersManaging a team of virtual workers requires a different set of skills. You can’t oversee these employees like you would if you were all together in the office every day. In order to keep everyone productive and positive, make sure to focus on the following points:

Hire based on personality and not just on experience

When you’ve got staff members working remotely, personality matters just as much (if not more) as training and past experience. It takes a specific type of person to excel when doing remote work. While an individual may thrive in an office, they may end up struggling to do the same type of job when they try to do it from home. For this reason, managers who oversee virtual workers will want to make sure that the new team members they’re bringing on board have the personality types necessary to excel in a virtual work environment.

How do you tell if a potential new hire has what it takes to excel in this unusual work setting? They need to be:

  • Self-motivated
  • Reliable
  • Able to work without checking in with a boss every few minutes
  • Able to stay focused even with distractions like pets or household chores or the television nearby
  • Able to manage their own schedule successfully

While some people thrive in this environment, others find that too much freedom is overwhelming, and they may get tempted to catch up on Netflix when they should be working. Be aware of this and make sure that the people you’re bringing on board truly have what it takes to excel in a work from home situation.

Make it a point to check in regularly

When you’re not seeing your team members in an office, it’s far too easy to go days or even weeks without having a real conversation with your employees. This creates an environment that’s ripe for serious miscommunication, employee dissatisfaction, and other problematic situations. To prevent this from happening, build in time to check in with your employees. Even if you don’t have anything pressing to discuss, block out ten minutes or so to jump on the phone and make sure that your team member feels good about how things are going. You can answer any questions that they may have, offer feedback or praise, and reassure them that their efforts are appreciated.

Lastly, be aware of the potential for overwork when you have workers who aren’t coming into the office every day. While it’s true that you may get a person who tries to slack off because they don’t have a boss looking over their shoulder, you’ll also have employees who have a hard time turning it off and separating home life from work since they’re working and living in one space. Be sensitive to this, and make sure to encourage your staffers to clock out at a reasonable hour every day in order to prevent burnout.

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Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.