5 Tips for Managing Remote Employees

Joe Weinlick
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Now that most businesses have access to Skype, cloud-based storage services and other tools, hiring remote employees is more practical than ever. Allowing employees to work from home is a perk that generates goodwill without costing a lot of money, and it also limits the amount of office space a business needs. If you have remote employees or are considering hiring some, follow these management tips.

1. Provide the Right Tools

All employees need the right tools for success, whether they work from home or come to an office every day. If you decide to hire remote workers, make sure they have everything they need to complete their work on time and stay in touch with colleagues. Project-management software facilitates keeping track of deadlines and project costs. Chat software opens up the lines of communication between department supervisors and their employees. If you pay your employees by the hour, they also need some type of time-tracking software to keep an accurate record of the number of hours they work.

2. Assess Employees Regularly

Many employees do a fine job of working remotely. They turn in their assignments on time and are able to maintain a high level of quality. Unfortunately, not every employee is a good candidate for remote work. If you allow employees to telecommute, keep close tabs on their performance. If you notice any problems with communication or project quality, address the problem immediately.

3. Have Virtual Meetings

Don't allow employees to telecommute without some form of accountability. Holding a weekly meeting is a great way to ensue remote employees stay on track. Use videoconferencing software to get everyone together without having to book a meeting room.

4. Chat with Employees

Even if you have a weekly meeting, you should still chat with remote employees throughout the day. It's a good idea to check in first thing in the morning to make sure all of your employees are ready to work. Daily chats are also ideal for working out problems and building better relationships with your remote employees.

5. Hold On-Site Meetings

Daily chats and weekly videoconferences are great, but they don't replace the need for face time with your remote employees. If possible, plan a yearly retreat for all employees who telecommute for your company. It doesn't have to be anything expensive, but it should bring everyone together and allow remote workers to get to know each other a little better. If the budget allows, plan some team-building activities to help employees build strong relationships.

Telecommuting has many benefits, but you have to manage remote employees correctly. If your company allows telecommuting, use chat software, videoconferencing tools and other technology to stay in touch and monitor project progress.

Photo courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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