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How to manage remote employees

It's the internet age – and more people than ever are being hired remotely. If you have long distance staff who you'd like to see succeed, here are six ways to help communicate with them to make your business stronger.

1. Engage often.

If your employees were in an office you’d see them every day – so it’s important to engage with remove workers whenever possible. This will help them feel included and important, improving their job satisfaction and output. Touch base with them every day, even if just through an email check in, and try to organize regular one-to-one meetings through a platform such as skype. This will allow you to see each other’s faces, speak honestly, and better read each other’s body language.

2. Set expectations.

A lot of employers worry that remote workers won’t be productive: but if you have people from all over the globe replying to your emails, managing your shipping, and completing your marketing don’t fret – simply laying out clear expectations and reasonable calendar dates can help keep everyone up to speed.

3. Make sure they fit your mission.

It can be all to easy to skip a few steps in the hiring process when you’re hiring a remote employee, but their fit into your culture and values is as important as that of any other employee. Because remote workers can’t really access regular interaction, aligning them with your mission is essential – it’ll help keep them motivated even when they’re far away.

4. Talk over video

Speaking to your customers over video-based tools such as Skype and Bluejeans can help them feel connected: which is essential when they’re not nearby. It can also make discussing their progress, and your expectations, much easier.

Having remote employees dial into meetings and group sessions can also help solidify their position within the company, as they get to meet their co-workers and obtain a better sense of their role and the business.

5. Respect each other’s time

If you have remote employees it can be tempting to text or email them with demands as they arise, but it’s important to respect their time the same way you would someone in the office. While it’s important to set some rules, such as that emails need to be replied to within a certain amount of time, it’s also important to make sure your employees know that you only expect them to be available for certain hours of the day.

6. Keep them connected

If you have a group chat for employees to discuss issues with, add your remote employees. If you’re making plans, give your remote employees a chance to engage. Keeping everyone engaged can go a long way when it comes to productivity: just because your remote employees aren’t nearby, doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to and feel involved in business discussions and decisions.

 Remote employees are as much a part of your team as the people sat next to you in the office, so making sure they’re the right culture fit and are provided with fair expectations and opportunities. Let us know, have you ever had a remote employee?

- Lena Klein

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