Remote employees can be just as productive, committed, and fun as their in-office counterparts.
Since recruitment and management of remote workers can be more of an art than a science, here are seven things Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack learned along the way.
DO explain your remote options in the job a: When recruiting, make your remote expectations clear from the get-go. Is the job totally remote or do you offer working from home one day a week? Let candidates weed themselves out by giving them up-front information. Be clear in what you’re actually able to offer.
Don't be vague about roles and vision: Each employee should know what their role is and why it is important to the company’s mission. Your team won’t just figure out your vision by accident; it must be taught. While this is true in any company, it’s especially important when your colleagues are remote.
DO encourage your team to work at their best time: Remote working lets you adapt your schedule to fit your life. Even if your team spans several time zones, a shared calendar helps you be transparent and communicate when you are available. Do your best to create some regular team-wide overlap to let your employees connect in real time.
DO keep communication consistent: Leaving remote workers to flounder can be dangerous. Stand-up meetings or status updates help you know how your team is progressing on a project. Some employees might think that asking for help is interrupting. Check in regularly and encourage them to set up meetings with you.
DON’T wait for the annual review: Establish a pattern of giving regular feedback. If someone is underperforming or having an issue, address it right away. Likewise, let your team know when someone is doing a great job. Your employees should clearly understand your expectations and how they measure up.
DO make the effort to build relationships: It is tempting to jump right into the meeting or task at hand, but be intentional about creating connections. Take a few minutes before a meeting starts and check in with everyone. Virtual water coolers, where teams can hang out and chat about anything, are also a great way to encourage interaction.
DON’T be available 100% of the time: If you are deep in a project, it’s okay to change your status to “away” and disable notifications. Some people hesitate to shut off email or IM, worrying that others will think they are not working. Getting offline while you crank out a project helps you focus; just give your team a heads-up.
You might be able to succeed as a remote manager with these tips, but could your favorite fictional boss? Check out the infographic below to see if Don Draper or Ron Swanson could cut it in a remote work environment.