Companies, big and small, have quickly figured out hiring remote workers cuts significant costs and avoids hefty bureaucracy. Remote workers are supposed to deliver results, not count hours. Hiring remote remains one of the most scaleable solutions for a fast-growing organization. The trick is: how can a manager best oversee remote team members?
1. Set Clear Communication Guidelines
Who does your remote worker report to? How often do they check in? On which channel, via email or Slack? Success rests on setting clear communication. Post project updates on a platform like Asana. It gives team members an idea of where they are in the pipeline. Setting up an online appointment time every week or every 2 weeks is a great way that teams can talk about ideas, concerns, and review performance.
2. Clear Planning Process
Managers have ideas of which goals need to be reached and when. Allow your team members to see the timeline. Set up and schedule the project stream. If you’re overseeing a research team, post the deadlines when material needs to be sent in. If you’re managing a grant writing team, schedule the dates that content needs to be turned in by. It’s not necessarily letting your team in on knowing the “big” deadline, but the smaller, weekly accomplishments that get you to your goal.
In addition to planning out the process, think of ways your remote crew could optimize their time.
Allow workers to be more productive with their more time-intensive tasks by encouraging them to automate the no-brainer duties, like email send outs or social media posts. Part of managing a remote team is allowing them to freedom to shake off the repetitive and focus on the creative.
3. Focus on Performance
As remote working focuses on delivering results, managers must create metrics that a worker can follow. Whether that’s negotiating a remote contractor to increase billable hours or delivering the company’s financial report per quarter, a manager tracks how their team is performing. Overseeing how employees are doing keeps unpleasant surprises at bay. Utilize the communication channel of weekly updates to talk about upcoming project and whether they need additional support. Be sure to give recognition to employees—the health of the company depends on it!
Okay, this is great to know, but which tools should I use when managing remote employees?
Amazon made it easier to find and buy a book; online tools make it smooth and simple to set goals, give updates, and communicate effectively. Here are our top picks:
For crystal-clear communication, consider Slack.
The platform allows you to create group chats, private chats, and even provides an easy drag-and-drop file system. You can share documents that can even be archived within the tool. It’s available both on mobile and desktop devices, allowing workers to receive any emergency updates.
For easy process scheduling, check out Trello, Asana, or Basecamp.
With simple design and no-nonsense features, these tools allow you to divvy up responsibilities per team member easily. Break a project into tasks and assign tasks; you can comment and keep updates on specific duties. These are useful tools to reveal to your entire team member which state the project is in, allowing them to work out their time accordingly.
For tracking performance, tools like iDoneThis, SalesForce, and Assembla are incredible.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to track employee performance. Trello is useful to visualize workflow, for example. iDoneThis sends an email that garners responses about what a worker did that day and reveals what tasks need to be done still. SalesForce is a pricier option, but shows exactly how many phone calls were made, how long they lasted, etc. It delivers a precise formula. Assembla is an affordable option that sychronizes work flow and shows tickets that are in customer service pipelines.
A great product can only be sold and services if all team members are on the same page. Remote workers provide immense benefits in scaling organizations. Take advantage and implement these team optimization techniques to deliver high-impact results.