The modern entrepreneur runs his or her business anywhere from a living room to a local cafe to a bungalow on a tropical island.
These entrepreneurs often outsource their business to anywhere from one to several dozen remote workers, while other business owners employ workers but don't require them to be physically present in the business.
Remote work is fast becoming the new normal and for a good reason. First, employees and freelancers love the freedom of working from anywhere, and second, the pool of available talent is dramatically larger when you aren't limited to your city for workers.
Managing your remote workers
Whether your remote workers are actual employees or people you outsource to, it's important that you manage them effectively to ensure consistency and productivity. Turnover tends to be high in situations where you don't have your team close at hand. Missed deadlines and mistakes due to miscommunication are also a problem.
With that said, the ability to work remotely is a huge incentive to many employees, so if you manage your workforce right, you can easily have a loyal, productive and satisfied team of workers to help you and your business succeed. Here are seven ways to accomplish just that.
1. Provide the right tools
Your workers need tools that work. They need to have access to files, information, tasks, deadlines, updates, news and more. Be sure that everyone is on board with the right tools. Slack, Asana and Trello are three excellent examples of tools that can help you run a remote team.
2. Create a company culture
Yes, you can create culture even if the entire team is remotely scattered across the globe. Your culture is your values, your way of doing business, your communication style. Each person who works for you or with you should be privy to your values. Understanding and being aligned with your values creates a sense of loyalty and community even among those freelancers you outsource to and never meet in person.
3. Communicate clearly
Be sure you are always communicating clearly. Double-check. Ask them lots of questions. Don't assume. Be sure you only work with remote employees and outsourced talent who possess excellent communication skills. Find ways to communicate that work.
4. Have an onboarding process
This is super important and helps facilitate 1, 2 and 3.
5. Set clear expectations
It goes without saying, but it's all too easy to forget to set expectations early on. Be clear and consistently revisit those expectations. Have goals, timelines, and hold people accountable for their deliverables.
6. Encourage camaraderie
It's so important to have at least some social interaction among remote workers. It's an isolating situation, and while most people who work remotely enjoy solitude as a perk, loneliness can set in. Encourage "water cooler" interaction on Slack, for example, to help combat loneliness and create a stronger sense of teamwork.
7. Treat remote workers with respect
Again, this should go without saying, but there is a tendency, especially when dealing with outsourced help, to take it for granted. If you are fortunate enough to find remote workers who do their job consistently well, it behooves you to pay them fairly and treat them with respect. Positive feedback goes a long way.
Follow these tips, and you'll create a remote team that runs like a dream, not a nightmare.