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4 Common Mistakes When Managing Remote Workers

August 15, 2016

Today’s high turnover drives employers to encourage the hiring of remote workers. The telecommuting method provides many perks such as the broader pool of talents and less office space without cutting down the quality of work. On the other hand, the flexibility is believed to increase the engagement and retain the key employees as well.

However, some companies still lack strategies to manage remote workers. All employees are treated equally under the same supervision and control. Else, employers frequently mismanage to nurture those who are working remotely and sustain the productivity.

See also: 5 Key Questions to Ask When Hiring Remote Workers

Employees (both remote and local based) are required to excel. However, as they work alone outside the office, most of them face difficulties at work. Laziness and other indiscipline attitudes are prone to happen. Lack of management strategies lead them to fail in managing the tasks and duties, even procrastination often happen.

There are some common mistakes when managing remote employees HR managers and employers can avoid:

Not building rapport with remote workers. Working at different locations often makes it harder for employers to build a great rapport with remote employees. They tend to limit the conversation and only discuss the tasks, projects and deadlines when needed. The distance and time gaps also make employers feel awkward to have a more personal discussion or to approach in a more casual way.

Remote workers are human too. They also need to interact with others and discuss things beyond work like hobbies, interests, personal lives, recent issues and more. When these are not fulfilled, there will be a large gap between employers and the employee. Employees are hesitant to ask for help, even unconfident to share the creativity and ideas towards a project.

Not involving them in key conversations. When managers don’t involve remote employees in discussions critical to the job roles, they will be unmotivated and feel undervalued at work. Instead of discriminating them, remote workers should be treated equally to join a meeting and take some important decisions. Video calls and teleconference are some affordable ways to let them join the meeting.

When it is impossible to involve them due to the time gap, managers should be communicative to deliver the results of the meeting and seek their feedback. They will appreciate the effort and return it in a higher sense of ownership and trust to the company.

Not setting up metrics to measure the progress. Monitoring output is important, but ensuring the deadlines and targets are met is critical to measure the progress. Supervising the remote employees could not be done as simply as those locally based. However, through a clear measurement, their productivity and effort can be gauged.

Hiring mistakes. Remote working requires employees who are highly self-discipline, technology literate and able to work alone. They are expected to sustain the productivity, even though they are far away from their managers and coworkers. When employers cannot hire the best-fit talent to fill the job position, it will dampen the overall company’s results and performance.

Remote working is a new way of employment that brings many benefits for both employers and employees. However, without any tactical strategy to manage the remote employees, companies’ overall progress and performance will suffer. Thus, hire diligently and do ensure your company has a good management plan for such employees!

Next read: How to Manage Ageing Workforce, When You’re the Young Leader

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