Manage Employees Who Work from Home

With the rapid advance of technology and globalization, rare is the company that doesn’t have at least a small army of remote workers.  Employing remote workers is one of the keys to modern business success, as it means you can have representatives of your company in different time zones and different companies, which often makes it easier to get business done.  After all, if you have an employee in Singapore, you won’t have to pay one of your more local workers to take a business trip there.

However, the advent of remote workers had presented an entirely new list of challenges to the bosses who manage them.  If the worker is in Singapore and not down the hall, it’s a little more difficult to contact him; if he has a question he has to email you and you need to be there to respond.  We’ve compiled some handy tips on how to best handle your far-flung workers.

  • Make sure you’ve got the right people going remote. People who are more extroverted generally work best in an office where they can feed off the energies of their colleagues, while introverts may be better at working solo.  Not to say that one group is more predisposed to working remotely than the other, but keep in mind people’s personalities when you assign them jobs, whether inside or outside the office.
  • Keep in mind time zones. If you’ve really got workers all over the world, you’ll need to plan around sleep schedules as well as lunch breaks.  Try to make it so that you’ve got one team working along on a project in Asia that won’t need constant communication from your other team in Africa.  The time difference will make remote work a pain.  If you have no choice, plan carefully to make the times correspond as best you can.
  • Sign an agreement. Since your remote workers won’t be in a building punching a clock from nine to five, be sure that you have an agreement for how many hours will be worked and the times that they have to be available for both you and the employee to refer back to.  You’ll both be happier if you have a signed agreement.
  • Constantly assess. Again, you won’t have the constant person-to-person interaction with a remote worker, so you’ll need to keep in constant communication with them.  Ask what is working and what isn’t, and make changes if you have to.  Happy remote workers tend to communicate with their bosses often – if your remote worker is starting to withdraw from you even if he or she continues to meet deadlines, there may be a problem.  Be sure to ask.

Remote workers are truly able to make the workplace more dynamic – after all, now your office isn’t constrained between four walls.  With the correct use of technology you can take your business to entirely new levels with remote workers – just be sure to carefully manage them and you’re sure to find success.