4 Tips for Managing Remote Employees
Octane’s #NewYearGoals2018 series is focused on tackling small, attainable goals to achieve big results. Today, we take on leadership. Aljaz Fajmut, founder of Nightwatch, offers four ways to work more successfully with remote staff members.
Hiring a team of remote workers has its perks. You save money on office space and supplies. You can hire based purely on talent, not location. If you’re hiring freelancers or contractors, you also have the benefit of scaling up only when you need additional help.
Still, remote employees also pose a few challenges, particularly for managers. How do you successfully mentor and guide a cross-functional team of workers who work across geographies? Is it possible to prevent feelings of isolation in team members? Can you effectively assess and track their productivity?
In this article, we show you exactly how to make it work!
1. Explore different ways to communicate
Ask any Internet entrepreneur or freelancer how much of their work is communication, and they’ll say that it makes up at least 20% of their professional time.
If your remote hires are freelancing, they likely have many other clients and projects to juggle. Efficiently communicating via texts, messaging and emails isn’t easy. Misunderstandings easily occur, which lead to—at worst—work being down incorrectly or more than once and—at best—frustration and delays.
Instead of sticking to emails and messaging, branch out with conference calls and video calls. Real-time, live communication lets you and your team clarify issues and boosts rapport.
2. Implement team bonding sessions
Teams that know each other, trust each other and bond with each other feel more motivated to work together. Simply put, they get more stuff done than a bunch of strangers.
Consider this: remote employees are working for you, but they also might be working for other clients. If you want them to feel passionate about your project, you need to make them feel part of a team that’s working towards an awesome collective goal. Otherwise, they’re just mercenaries and you’re just “another” client to them.
A great way to bring your team together is to host online team bonding activities. Host a monthly “round of appreciation” video meeting where everyone discusses their wins. If your location and budget allow, pick a central meeting spot to physically get together for an afternoon.
3. Adopt a team project management app
What’s one of the biggest problems with hiring remote workers? Since they don’t all work in the same office under your watchful eye and guidance, it’s all too easy for team members to fall behind and miss deadlines.
This is why choosing a team project management and collaboration app is so important. With the right program, team members are on the same page, can see what everyone else is up to and communicate more effectively. Plus, they can send each other messages and GIFs to boost morale!
Enhance your cross-functional teamwork by boosting communication, improving each team member’s sense of belonging and ensuring that everyone knows their goals, as well as the goals of their team members. People will start to work together, rather than as individuals.
4. Give feedback
Lastly, today’s employees and especially freelancers won’t stand still for long. They might not be working with you forever, and it’s a good idea to provide feedback and show them where they can improve for future assignments. Don’t be harsh with your criticism, but point out what they can do better. They will appreciate it.