Manage Remote Workers and Build Trust in 5 Ways Managing Your Online TeamChris JankulovskiFebruary 11, 201410 Managing employees who work remotely is not far different from managing employees in a physical office. However, establishing trust between you and your remote workers can be challenging as it becomes very crucial in a remote office setting. Whether you are considering remote working to utilize your budget or as part of your business strategy, the challenges are inevitable. These challenges basically revolve around productivity, accountability and overall staff performance. And although these remote working challenges can be overcome by productivity and compliance tools in the long run, cultural differences between you and your remote employees should also be addressed plus some communication issues that can make relationships difficult to establish. Building trust is essential to any working environment and yet it’s not easy to do – what more in a remote office setting, right? Allowing your employees to work remotely basically means that you trust them to get the job done even if they are outside of the office. But how will they return the favuor without asking them? Here are five ways: 1. Tailor your management style to your remote workers Image Credit: PublicAgencyLeadershipFocus This could be difficult if you’re used to a more “hands-on” approach when managing staff for many years. Changing your management style can be a Herculean task but keep in mind that you are not alone as everyone is on board coping with necessary adjustments. It can also take a while depending on the transitions so take advantage of the time by being a good example of someone willing to embrace the changes. In this transition period you will have an overview of how trust can flourish, how to fortify it and how to address issues right from the start. 2. Prioritize deliverables over activities Image Credit: Danny Hope We all know that micromanaging will do you no good so don’t be tempted to do it just because you have work at home employees within your business. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to check their daily activities to get an overview of their progress but focus more on the goals you want to achieve. It’s very important that you and you’re remote employees are on the same page on the objectives and help them determine how to accomplish them. Now, you’ll see the bigger picture and you’re remote staff will have the initiative to maximize their skills and knowledge to achieve your business goals making them trusted assets of your company in the long run. 3. Communicate with them beyond chat and email Image Credit: Rhino99 Communication is everything and even more vital when managing remote workers. It’s not necessary to talk to them all the time but you should have a convenient way of having them on the line when needed. You can schedule regular one-on-one meetings where you can discuss how things are going. Keep the discussions conversational and take note of their suggestions on how to improve your business and things they need to improve their productivity. This is where you’re listening skills comes in handy as your remote employees express their views about their jobs and perhaps about something else. Talking to them also gives you the chance to address issues before they pile up and give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t within a virtual office setup. With consistent communication, trust and respect will eventually build up. 4. Provide benefits If you remote employees are outsourced, the outsourcing company usually leave it in the hands of their client the discretion of providing outsourced workers employee benefits. Although not legally required, giving you’re remote workers benefits is a way of telling them that you are committed in taking care of them earning trust and becoming productive as your company grows. Hiring remote workers can be a part of your cost-cutting method but it shouldn’t compromise giving your staff the benefits they deserve. 5. Compliment their hard work There’s may be a thousand mile gap between you and you’re remote workers but a simple compliment instantly bridges you to them not only professionally but also emotionally. Recognizing your employees drives employee engagement making them productive and more. You might be in tight budget right now but as you company grows you have to somehow give them something to acknowledge their hard work. Image Credit: Tez Hazırlama ve Yazım Merkezi As a manager, it’s very important that your staff feel your presence whether physically or virtually and they know that you are there to recognize their good work. Technology can’t replace you and it’s your duty to keep their morale high by giving compliments and constructive criticisms as well. So, there you have it, these 5 ways should kickstart establishing relationships and strengthen trust between you and your remote workers. Whether all of your employees work remotely or have both in-house and offshore staff or perhaps managing mobile workers is included in your job description, remember that just like any other skill, perfecting the art of managing remote employees takes time and persistence.