The Internet has completely changed the way businesses operate in the modern world. For some, the results have been nothing but positive, helping to cut down on costs and streamline workflow. Sadly, however, this isn’t always the case.
There’s no getting around the fact that managing virtual employees can be relatively difficult, especially if you’re new to doing so. Allowing employees to work virtually really does come along with a great deal of benefits if you’re able to pull it off properly.
With the following tips, you’ll be able to transition from a traditional management style to working with virtual employees quickly and effectively.
1. Set Ground Rules
The first thing you should do when attempting to manage virtual employees is set a few ground rules. Managing those who work outside of the office can be easier said than done, and the more you can all be on the same page, the better. For instance, you might want to set a rule stating that all virtual employees must call into a 9 am status meeting, which will help to ensure that everyone stays on track. Brainstorm a few rules that might be able to set your mind at ease if properly enforced, as this can help to make managing a bit less stressful. Also, don’t hesitate to allow for a discussion with your employees about what their needs are in this particular work situation.
2. Keep Communication Flowing
One of the first things that people tend to discover about managing virtual employees is that communication sometimes becomes more difficult than it was before. After all, it can seem quite a bit easier to communicate with an employee if he or she is in the same office space, although this isn’t necessarily the case. VoIP phone systems, for example, can help to ensure that your virtual employees are just a single button away, so long as you set up the network properly. Be sure to keep communication going in the same manner as before in order to avoid allowing it to fall flat.
3. Maintain an Element of Trust
Another thing that business owners struggle with when dealing with their first virtual employees is maintaining trust. How are you supposed to know that an employee is doing his or her job if you can’t actually check up on them in person? Managing virtual employees requires one to maintain an element of trust at all times, which means giving the employee the benefit of the doubt at first. If you begin to see signs that productivity is falling off, however, by all means begin to intervene. The trick here is not to jump the gun; you should always make your employees feel as if they’re trusted.
Managing virtual employees certainly takes some getting used to, but if you stick with it you’re bound to increase productivity and see positive results for your business.