- June 11, 2018
- Posted by: Rivero, Gordimer & Company
- Category: Business Advice
In today’s global marketplace, many small businesses utilize freelancers and independent contractors who work remotely. While hiring remote workers has benefits like minimal overhead costs and improved employee satisfaction, it can present many challenges for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
A 2016 study of over 15,000 Americans found that 43% of employed adults said that they spend at least some time working remotely. Because remote employment is increasing in popularity, employers need help managing this style of work.
If your small business has employees that work from home or on the road, it can be a struggle to maintain good communication, a cohesive brand identity, and other necessities for sustainable success. Here are some tips on how to manage your remote workers efficiently.
Don’t Skip the Onboarding Phase
Because hiring remote workers typically happens outside of the traditional corporate setting, employers tend to skip a lot of the standard onboarding details and process. Providing context to a position and testing new employees is a critical step that should not be overlooked.
Even if you’re hiring a remote employee, make sure you take time and explain company policies, HR documents, internal communication processes, workflow requirements, job expectations, and other responsibilities associated with the position and your company.
If you emphasize the onboarding phase when working with remote employees, you’ll define expectations better and avoid miscommunication.
Use Software to Improve Inefficiencies
Efficiency is key for any small business, but it becomes all the more critical when you’re managing multiple employees across different locations, time zones, and languages.
Thankfully, there are several software programs and online applications that can help you streamline communication and improve inefficiencies. Whether you want to hold video conference calls to discuss projects or have multiple team members update a document in real-time, there are solutions that can help you accomplish your business objectives.
When working with remote employees, you can find digital solutions and applications to help improve the operational efficiencies.
Develop a Collaborative Culture
While working remotely can be wonderfully freeing, it can also be isolating. People tend to do better work when they feel part of a group or part of something important, so do your best to create a collaborative culture.
Give your remote employees individual feedback, and create a communication channel for all employees to communicate about non-work related topics. This will help break down some of the communication barriers that come with in-house and outsourced employees.
Take time to personally build rapport with all employees, especially those who work remotely — and, focus on developing a healthy and welcoming culture.
Use Video Instead of Email or Messaging Apps
Too many businesses rely solely on email or messaging apps to communicate with remote workers. A lot of miscommunication can occur via text, and it can feel distant or brash if an employee isn’t familiar with your personality or communication style.
Research shows that nearly half of all human communication is nonverbal, meaning through body language, eye contact, or other subtle cues.
Therefore, by only choosing text-based communication methods, you are allowing more opportunities for miscommunication. Whenever given the chance, try to prioritize video conferencing. There are even services like Skype and Zoom which are free video conferencing apps that you can use to communicate with your remote employees.
Improving Remote Employee Management
To survive in our ever-changing marketplace, it’s important for businesses to be willing to evolve and adapt to the needs of remote workers. Utilize the four tips above to increase the productivity and efficiencies for your remote employees.