Employers have much to gain by offering remote work options. They save money on office space, it increases their talent pool since they can hire people across the globe, it makes many employees more productive and increases employee retention. A survey last year from Deloitte found that in the most flexible work environments, 33% of millennials intend to stay at the job beyond 5 years. And according to Inc. Magazine, remote workers are more engaged and tend to be 20% more productive when doing creative projects. But when managing remote employees, you must follow some best practices, or you will end up with miscommunication, missed deadlines, low engagement and high turnover. Here are some tips for managing and retaining remote employees:
1) Meet them in-person
When you first hire remote employees, take a trip to visit them and get to know them. This will start the relationship off on the right foot and give them an actual person to relate to as their boss. Then, plan yearly get-togethers for your team to encourage camaraderie between employees and celebrate accomplishments.
2) Encourage communication
Another one of the important tips for managing remote employees is to encourage regular communication. This means employees should have regular progress updates with managers and other team members. You should also encourage laughter and small talk about topics unrelated to work. One of the possible negative results of remote work can be loneliness for team members. So, when managing remote employees one of the best practices is to promote a culture where casual conversations between employees are an important part of the workday. During this relaxing time team members are also likely to come up with some of their best ideas.
3) Provide employees with the right tools to communicate and collaborate
One of the most important tips for managing and retaining remote employees is to give them the best tools for accomplishing what they need to on the job. Some of the best tools out there for communication and collaboration in remote work are Slack, Trello, Perch, Google Docs and GoToMeeting. And make sure employees know which tool is the best one to use for each task, since using the wrong tool can lead to more confusion.
4) Empower remote employees
When managing remote employees, another one of the best practices is to empower them. This means allowing them to make as many decisions as possible on their own, by providing the tools, freedom and knowledge needed to do so. That way they waste less time having to escalate matters to higher-ups, develop better critical thinking skills and feel like an important part of your team. If you hire the right people, there is no need to micromanage your remote employees.
5) Be straightforward about expectations
Another one of the important tips for managing remote employees is to be clear about your expectations from the beginning. Set deadlines and stick to them, promote the company’s values, and keep a structured environment. Make sure employees know what they need to be working on and the quality that is expected of their work. Check in with employees on a regular basis regarding the progress they have made. Give them regular feedback, both positive and negative, so they can grow as professionals.
6) Give public recognition
Lastly, one of the best tips for managing and retaining remote workers is to give them public recognition on their accomplishments. You can do this is weekly staff emails, video group chats and on your website. This will help bring your team together and increase employee satisfaction.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.