We live in a world where technological advancements have made remote working a viable, and sometimes even more convenient, option than a traditional workforce under one roof. While there are arguments on the pros and cons of a remote workforce, if you are a manager of off-site employees, it is important to remember it requires a specific management style in order to execute effectively.  Here are some tips on leading a remote workforce!

Set clear expectations.

One of the most important parts of managing employees not at your physical location is ensuring there are no “gray areas” associated with your expectations. This goes for anything from deadlines to schedules.  If you want your employees’ schedules to be flexible, let them know.  Otherwise, if you expect them to be available at a desk during a certain period of time, that must be established. Set clear deadlines with periodic goals along the way to help your employee reach them. This way, even if you aren’t physically watching your employees every day, you have benchmarks to ensure expectations are being met.

Ensure open communication.

Being an effective communicator is essential in managing a remote workforce, especially since the lack of physical presence means that they cannot read your emotions or non-verbal signs. You must articulate your thoughts clearly and often.  Be responsive to their emails and voicemails to you so they do not feel cut off from the company. Set up a scheduled call as needed for the position.  Having a routine call will help ensure there is a scheduled time to regroup with your remote employees, and they won’t fall “out of sight, out of mind.”

Still make them feel part of a team.

On the topic of “out of sight, out of mind,” one major complaint from remote employees is that they love their freedom and flexibility, but sometimes feel like they aren’t a part of the team and are missing the camaraderie.  Some remote employees like it this way, but if your remote employee is still working on teams with people in the office, make sure to still encourage team building amongst them.  Don’t exclude them from conversations they should be a part of because they are not there. Consider organizing times when they come into the office and interact, brainstorm, etc. with their colleagues, whether it is once a week, once a month or once a year. Even just a few touch points throughout the year will help keep the team mentality alive, even if your team isn’t all in one location.

With proper management, there are several benefits you can leverage out of a remote workforce, so make sure you are making the most out of your off-site team!

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