Creating a team of remote workers saves money on travel and office space while giving team members the benefits of working from home. However, it can present some unique challenges to employers. Stay connected with team members, recognize achievement, and take advantage of cutting-edge video conferencing and project management technology to create a positive, productive work environment for telecommuters.
Hold Meetings Regularly
Schedule phone or video conference meetings on a weekly or biweekly basis at a set time to check in on remote workers. These meetings give the team a chance to discuss progress as well as any issues that may have arisen. Make each meeting worthwhile for the whole team by limiting discussion topics to those that affect the largest number of team members.
Implement a Feedback System
Just like in-house workers, remote team members are more satisfied and dedicated if they receive recognition for their work. Encourage team members to celebrate each other's achievements, and use a messaging system to send out personal thank-you notes to anyone who has been putting in extra effort. Don't forget to mention wins and landmark achievements when sending shout-outs to the whole team during weekly meetings.
Use Virtual Meeting Tools
Video conferencing technology provides an intimate atmosphere while offering tools and extras for enhancing every meeting. Additionally, discussing problems and progress through video lets you read remote workers' tone and body language so you can avoid confusion and more accurately measure morale. Numerous free and paid options are available, including Google Hangout, Vidyo and Zoom.
Consider Project Management Software
Productivity is the best measurement of a successful remote worker, so set up accurate ways to measure progress. Project management technology is one tool for tracking results and creating priorities. Cloud-based software also allows for easy discussion among team members, ensuring everyone is on the same page. A few options include Hive, Freshdesk and WorkBook. Time-tracking apps such as TimeDoctor can also be useful for measuring individual workers' productivity. To measure progress on a team level, organize quarterly and annual check-ins, letting workers know where they stand concerning key company goals.
Focus on Building Trust
Spending less time in employees' presence means having fewer chances to build trust and camaraderie. To solve this issue, take time for one-on-one video chats with remote workers. Promote communication by creating an understanding atmosphere, letting telecommuting employees know they can come to you for help or to clear up doubts. Build a reputation as a problem-solver to engender trust and increase workers' confidence in your leadership.
Finally, be open to suggestions and feedback from remote workers about the virtual experience, and allow team members the flexibility of working when they want as long as key goals are met. With the right tools and techniques, working with telecommuting employees becomes a positive experience for everyone involved.
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