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It is important to set up your remote employees correctly from the beginning to make your job easier moving forward as well as get the best results from your outsourcing efforts.
Here are a few suggestions to help you:
Match people to the work. Extroverts and idea people tend to like tasks that require ongoing communication. It is a good idea to put them with others in their team who will make similar contributions. Introverts and people confident making decisions can work more easily on solo projects.
Match work to the time zone. It can often get difficult sharing workload between remote employees in different time zones, eventually becoming a catch up or waiting games. A better solution would be to allocate large portions of projects to specific locations as opposed to distributing the entire project bitwise over multiple remote office locations.
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Assign backups. I cannot overstate the importance of this. You will have the odd times when employees fall ill, don’t turn up for work, go AWOL etc. It is a good practice in managing remote employees to ensure you have another person who has similar skills set and knowledge to cover the employee who hasn’t turned up for work.
Assess. Assess your position, your contribution, motivation, your management styles from time to time, at least a few times a year, ask what’s working and what’s not, then make changes if necessary. This will allow you to improve yourself as well as ensure your remote employees continue to perform and improve.
Assess also your remote employees performance, appraisals are important in motivation as well as helping you and the employee see how to move forward in order to get the best performance out of your remote employee.
It can become very frustrating when managing remote employees and they seem to take forever to respond, whether your waiting for an email, or a deliverable or a response and it takes the remote employees ages to get back to you. These are inevitable issues, however it is easy to overlook the most important thing which is your remote employees performance. Does your remote employee collaborate well, delivers what she promises, makes decisions on her own, generates ideas, anticipates problems before they happen, communicates clearly etc.
Set goals and expectations. A predefined standard for all to adhere to will help create a level of consistency. Review your goals and expectations and adjust to accommodate the remote employees skills set, pace of working.
Status reports. Managing remote employees require you to have eyes and ears in remote offices even without being there! Ensure you have status reports in place, whether its in the form of a KPI or a 1 page summary of the daily progress. Take time to review status reports to check the work is being done by your remote employees.