As new technology drives communication tools to new heights, the idea that your business should be confined only to an office space is quickly becoming obsolete. Today, organizations big and small, new and old, are all taking advantage of global connectedness by hiring employees in other cities, countries and continents.
While remote workers can be a great benefit for small businesses looking to eliminate the need for dedicated offices, or reach out to qualified professionals unable to move to a home base of operations, distance can pose a challenge for managers when it comes to engaging with people they can’t interact with in person.
Establishing a successful remote employment relationship can ultimately pay off in spades, but it almost always requires an extra initial effort to build and maintain a management system that makes sure remote employees are fulfilling their responsibilities and also have an open channel for dialog with their superiors and colleagues in different places.
If you’re working with remote workers or are considering it in the future, here are 5 recommendations for maintaining professional engagement:
1. Establish a sense of mutual trust and confidence right off the bat
If you’re working with remote employees, it’s imperative that a trusting relationship is established almost immediately. Although you might have designed a workflow that allows you to regularly observe the work others are doing remotely, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to oversee employees working elsewhere like you would those in the office.
Because of this reality, trust is key. Hire those you trust to make sensible decisions for themselves and then give them the ability to do so. No matter how well-trained or skilled someone is with a particular position, having to constantly monitor them will not only distract you from your own tasks, but will prevent the employee from gaining the confidence to manage themselves to a reasonable degree.
2. Recognize remote accomplishments
Research by the HR Solutions’ Research Institute has shown that employee recognition is the most powerful driver for engaging employees of all kinds. While too much rewarding can ultimately diminish the value of being recognized when truly great work is done, supervisors and managers should establish reminders for themselves to regularly review the work that’s being done remotely and give adequate praise when it’s deserved.
This can come in the form of communal acknowledgement and praise during a digital meeting, payroll bonuses, or simply a personal phone call. Even small gestures can go a long way to make a remote employee feel more like part of the team.
3. Do your best to help remote employees enjoy what they do
Let’s face it; if you hate what you do, you probably don’t do it very well. While it’s relatively easy to notice a worker not taking active enjoyment in their tasks in the office, it’s virtually impossible to notice disengagement from remote workers.
Although every job brings with it tedious or mundane tasks at one point or another, truly good managers can identify what work an individual values the most. For remote workers, observation can be difficult.
Instead, compare their current work to past projects and try to find a trend for those items that went above and beyond expectations. Do your best to offer additional training an opportunity in these areas and let them become specialists in what they take pride in most. Be extra aware not to let tedious tasks dominate their schedules and end up becoming a burden on their confidence in the work.
All in all, remote work opportunities present tremendous advantages for businesses looking to fill roles that can’t be easily found locally. Although it almost always requires some level of extra preparation and more diligent upkeep, forging a trusting relationship with far away employees can be a great way to grow your organization with the best talent the world has to offer.
If you’re a business owner and are looking for more information about an HR related issue, give us a call. Our outsourced accounting and CFO services experts can help sort out the right solution.
Photo credit: Daman