My 92-year-old granddad’s most-used expression is: “There ain’t nothing like it used to be.” While the grammar may be a bit off, the sentiment is spot-on—especially when it comes to the business world. Today’s office is not necessarily a building downtown where all the employees can collaborate and complete work on-site; today’s office can span the globe. Whether you are already working with remote employees, or it is something you are considering as a way to accomplish more, these tips will help make the give-and-take necessary for working remotely much easier.
Know Your Staff
When you are hiring and working with remote employees, you may not have as much insight to who they are, what they know and how to help them as you do with on-site employees. It is important that you work with each remote worker and find out his or her strengths and weaknesses. Take notes about these employees’ successes and shortcomings that occur while in your employment, and you will find it is easier to work with him or her in the future.
Establish Communication Expectations
The most important thing to keep in mind when working with remote employees is that communication can be tough. Make it clear what you expect from your remote employees in terms of communications and stick with it. If you want the designer you hired to check in with you by phone twice a week, make sure you schedule a time you will be available and answer the phone each and every time. Even if you prefer to communicate mostly by email or other text forms, it can be worth it to check in by phone or video every now and then, just to make sure you and your remote employee are on the same page.
As a remotely employed writer myself, I sometimes find myself working on a project where questions come up unexpectedly. While you may not be able to answer your phone 24/7, you should have a number or email address when your remote staff can contact you and expect to get an answer within a few hours. If you are there for your remote employees, they are more likely to be there for you.
While working with a remote staff has its challenges, it is well worth it when you consider the level of talent you have access to compared to putting together a local staff. From blog writers for hire to graphic designers who will complete projects on a per-hour basis, there are plenty of talented remote workers out there. Take your time as you make those hires and treat your remote staff members like you would a co-worker who is at the desk next to you and you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.