Though not every company allows it, there are distinct benefits to working remotely.
Remote employees are often more productive, have higher degrees of job satisfaction and may be more likely to come up with unique solutions to problems. There are benefits for companies as well, since companies that hire remote workers have access to a larger talent pool than what they would find only hiring those who live nearby.
If your company hires remote workers, it’s important that you find individuals who are well suited to working remotely. This can sometimes be difficult, as people who can’t handle the unique stresses of remote work may still be attracted to a job where they can work from home.
If you’re trying to find the best remote workers for your company, here are a few ideas that might help:
Be Specific with Expectations
From the moment start looking for remote workers, it’s important that you’re specific about what you’re looking for and what you expect from your employees.
Since you won’t be able to direct remote workers in person, they’ll need to know exactly what it is that you want. Establishing clear expectations ensures that they’ll do the work that you need done without needing excessive revisions or changes to how their work will be used.
Create a Well-Organized Virtual Workplace
There are a number of ways that you can communicate with your remote workers and receive the work that they do.
Unfortunately, some methods of collaboration are way too chaotic to be effective as a long-term work solution. Services such as Trello or Asana help you create organization within a virtual workspace, letting you and your remote workers access it and make changes as needed in real time. The more organized your workspace is, the easier it will be for your remote workers to do the jobs they need to do and deliver the end results to you.
Include Your Remote Workers
Make sure that you account for your remote workers when you have staff meetings.
Use conference calls, video conferencing services or live voice chat services to let them attend remotely and participate in the meetings. This not only ensures that they have a voice in group decisions, but also drives home the point that they are definitely part of the team even if they’re not there in person.
Establish Positive Communication
Good communication is key when you have remote workers.
Touch base every workday by email or text, and set up a time to talk on the phone or via chat at least once every week or two. Don’t just ask for status reports; give feedback on the work that they’re doing, see if they have any questions or comments and otherwise establish a dialog between yourself and your remote team.
A lot of remote workers don’t really get all of the recognition that they deserve because their work is done away from the office.
Since the remote team isn’t right there working on their projects, it’s easy to forget about everything that they do until those brief instances where deliverables come through. Because of this, it’s important that you put forth the effort to give them recognition for a job well done. Remote workers should be treated just like any other employees, especially when the time comes for raises and other rewards.
Bring the Team Together
If at all possible, you should bring your entire team together for retreats or other special events periodically.
Even if you can only manage it once per year, getting your core office team and your remote workers in the same place can do wonders for team morale. The fact that it’s not just a work event and that it contains social interaction and other fun activities doesn’t hurt, either.
Value Worker Opinions
When working with your remote team, it’s important that you take their comments and suggestions to heart.
Some employers don’t value the opinions of remote workers as much as other employees because they aren’t present to be part of the office culture. When this is the case, remote workers might feel undervalued, and that can reduce productivity and lead to higher turnover. If you want to engage your workers, they need to feel like they really matter… and that means that their thoughts and opinions should matter too.