Nine Management Tips For Building An Effective Remote Workforce by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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More and more businesses are offering their employees the opportunity to work remotely, and it’s easy to see why. Remote work offers increased flexibility as well as savings on commute time and cost for the employee, while the employer can potentially reduce overhead expenses while accessing a much wider pool of talent. However, time and cultural differences as well as an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude can hinder communications and productivity among a geographically dispersed team.

Managing employees from a distance can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can create an efficient, productive team, regardless of where individual team members are located. We asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members how business owners can make the most of a remote workforce.

Members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer advice on building an effective remote workforce.All photos courtesy of YEC members.

1. Get Employees’ Input

The growing remote workforce should only be seen as a blessing, not a curse, to any employer. With appropriate measures in place, the benefits outweigh any inconvenience. Make the most of it by gaining the input of those who might benefit from it before creating policy surrounding it, making employees accountable for their productivity. Workers who are already remote could benefit the company if you are strategic about it. Select employees with a time difference advantage and assign fieldwork research or client meetings in their area. Think of them as your bishop in a game of chess — they can make big, long-term moves if only positioned right. – Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

2. Expand Into New Markets

Our team has several remote employees across the U.S. Rather than keeping them working solely tied to their computers, weve tried to use their presence in those locations to reach new clientele in the area. Attending networking events, organizing local photo shoots and meeting new potential clients in the area have helped grow the business. Remote employees dont have to work at their computers 40 hours a week; look for unique opportunities to get them involved and connected in the local community of your industry. Let them be an extension of you. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

3. Meet Regularly

When running a remote team, having weekly team meetings will help keep everyone on the same page. It also helps to use cloud-based software for project management. I prefer Confluence by Atlassian, which allows you to tag teammates in comments and document best practices, and it can be accessed from any computer with a Wi-Fi connection. It also helps to have one face-to-face meetup with team members at least once a year. Were social creatures, and virtual meetings dont allow for as much creativity and masterminding as in-person meetups do. – Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.

4. Favor Performance Over Presence

It is unreasonable to expect a remote worker to put in the same number of hours each day as he or she might when working from an office. This does not imply that timeliness does not matter. It does, especially when it comes to meeting deadlines or attending online meetings, seminars or presentations. However, remote workers do expect some leeway with matters regarding time. What’s important when it comes to making the most of remote workers is to keep track of their performance. If your projects continue moving at your desired pace, with there being no compromise on quality, you have little to worry about. Remember that not everyone is equally productive at the same time of the day. While some prefer early mornings, others might deliver great results despite being late risers. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

5. Understand The Trade-Offs

Hiring remote workers can solve some problems and create others. Being open to remote hiring gives businesses a wider pool from which to hire. Evidence shows that productivity is higher and attrition rates are lower for remote workers in some roles. Many workers prefer to work remotely, especially if the alternative is a long commute. But its not all upside. Its harder to build a business culture with a remote team. Management oversight is more challenging. There are benefits to the in-person interaction of employees that are lost in a remote team. To make the most of remote workers and in-office workers, business owners have to understand the trade-offs and how they are likely to affect performance in specific roles. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting

6. Avoid Micromanagement

There are many advantages to having a remote workforce. Many employees will see the ability to work from wherever they want as a major perk, making it easier to attract talented workers in an extremely tight job market. A remote workforce does pose challenges though. Using collaboration tools like Slack extensively and holding regular video conferences with your whole team via Zoom can help people feel connected to each other and the overall mission. Remote workers dont respond any better to micromanaging than workers in the office do. Set goals for your remote team, and let them achieve them without tracking what theyre doing every minute of the day. Most importantly, let them know that out of sight doesnt mean out of mind. Listen to their concerns and make sure they get paid on time. – Thomas Smale, FE International

7. Use Solid Project Management Tools

Remote work with people across the Americas has been essential to all of my businesses for the last 10 years. I do this because I seek out the best talent wherever it is located. With unemployment at the lowest levels since the Vietnam War, if you arent actively searching for new talent, you will fall behind those who are. While remote working is a solution that offers quality talent and lower salary and office costs, to be up front, it can also be a beast to manage. With performance metrics, scorecards and other tools, the rewards are outsized. Quick hack: Use an app like Asana for project management, to track daily/weekly email tasks, and to hold weekly video calls and bi-annual meetings to bring everyone together. Do just enough together time to bond, not enough to become a ball and chain. – Codie Sanchez, Codie Ventures LLC

8. Build Crystal-Clear Processes

Not only have I hired remote workers, I promoted a freelancer who started with me writing blog posts a couple times a month to a manager of marketing with a competitive salary in my company. Ive worked through every part of a workflow myself and created instructions, videos and references for the performance I expect. Communication is also constant through apps like Slack, Hubspot and more. Originally I was unsure about using a remote worker who lives 18 hours away, but she has proven her timeliness, dedication and superior skill time and again. This not only has been a huge plus for my company, but it also broke down the limits of a traditional workplace, such as geophysical location. Now, quality workers dont have to relocate across the country to make a meaningful contribution to my team. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

9. Make Remote Employees Feel Included

Like any other employee, remote employees want to feel like a valued member of a team. However, its easy to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap. Luckily there are a few easy tips to avoid this. Make it a point to ask remote employees about their lives. Get to know them as a complete person, and they will feel more comfortable coming to you with questions or suggestions, even if they are 1,000 miles away. Use video as often as possible. Over half of human communication is nonverbal. There are a variety of inexpensive solutions for video chat, such as Zoom, Skype and Google hangouts. If video is impossible, try using animated GIFs or emoticons to supplement text. If you want a dynamic and healthy company culture, making all employees feel included is essential. – Shu Saito, Fact Retriever


December 17, 2018 at 08:32AM
https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/12/17/nine-management-tips-for-building-an-effective-remote-workforce/?ss=entrepreneurs
Forbes – Entrepreneurs
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