In today’s modern business world, the workforce extends far beyond the office walls. Particularly with specialty fields such as consulting, Web development, customer service and marketing, thousands of jobs are being filled by virtual employees. Just in America, there are more than 44 million professionals working web3 remote jobs offsite (International Telework Association and Council, 2004).
For companies of all shapes and sizes, a virtual workforce has become an essential and efficient part of business. In order to overcome the geographical challenges, these four steps are vital to managing remote workers.
Clearly Define Your Expectations
As soon as you start telecommuting arrangements with any employee, make sure that communicate the parameters of the job. You may want to set assignment deadlines, or require teleworkers to work a set number of hours per week. How quickly do you expect offsite members to respond to requests? Do they need to be available during specific hours by e-mail, IM or phone? You may want to put these expectations in writing, so that you and your employee can refer to it in the future.
Set Small Goals within a Big Project
Trust is a key ingredient between the HR manager and offsite employee. Along with relaying expectations to manage telecommuters, you may want to set small, frequent goals to keep them on track. This is vital for projects that span over months, especially when a client requires timelines and end results. There are also online systems available to help remote workers post work logs and share documents, which could be helpful for you to assess their progress on a project.
Make the Effort to Touch Base Regularly
Often, projects may miss the mark because of a lack of regular communication. While you don’t want to micromanage, you need to keep a solid connection with the telecommuter. Also make sure to keep offsite employees in touch with the whole team, so everyone is on the same page. When you schedule team meetings, you can ask remote workers to call into the discussion. This way, any questions can be addressed and the whole group can better collaborate.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
There are many low-cost tools you can use to connect remote workers with the rest of the company. For instance, you can make use of e-mail, instant messaging and similar communication tools to keep in touch frequently. For meetings, you can take advantage of phone, Web or video conferencing systems. As mentioned earlier, you should consider using an online system to share files, work logs and other important data with remote employees.