As a modern workplace phenomenon, remote jobs have come under scrutiny from organizations, agencies, and businesses of all sizes and industries – they’re all looking to understand how flexible workforce impacts the marketplace.

With over 50% of people who work remotely part-time saying they would like to increase their remote hours, and 60% of remote workers saying they would leave their current job and work remotely full-time, offering remote job opportunities has become an efficient way to gain productive employees.

Here are some stats that explain the upsides and benefits of remote work for both workers and employers:

  • 86% of remote workers stated that they preferred to work on their own because it boosts their productivity. In addition, 30% of them said that working remotely allows them to achieve more in a shorter period of time.
  • 60% of managers stated that remote employees increase their overall productivity.
  • 82% of remote workers reported reduced stress levels, 80% of them reported increased morale, and almost 70% reported lower absenteeism rates when working remotely.

However, managing remote teams with members scattered across the globe is a challenging task. Managers might feel like they have no control over the remote employees or find it hard to build a trustworthy relationship with them. Still, since remote working is the future of the workplace, they will have to adapt and create a pleasant working situation for every member involved.

This article offers the best practices to implement in order to manage remote teams with an aim to boost their productivity, along with the best tools to facilitate the whole process.

1. Find and Hire the Right Talent

In order to effectively manage remote employees, you need to make sure to hire the right ones in the first place.

Upon hearing the term ‘remote working’, many people envision themselves sitting on a sandy beach, stopping to do some work on their laptop between two swims in the ocean. In practice, remote working requires discipline and attitude.

Look for people who are highly-motivated so you don’t have to push them to complete the tasks. Working with Independent people who are able to make a decision on their own if you’re not available to answer their queries will save you hours of micro-management and allow you to focus on more important tasks. Seek people who are proactive when it comes to regular updates about their progress or planning their own schedules. Finally, make sure to find people who are good at listening. If your remote workers can easily grasp your instructions, they’ll be able to provide a quick output.

Tools to help you find good remote workers:

Freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour allow you to hire freelancers according to your specific requirements. However, bear in mind that these platforms charge rather high fees, which makes them expensive when it comes to long term collaborations.

Craigslist. With more than a million job postings created each month, the classified ad site is one of the oldest and best places to find remote workers. Craigslist is the best solution if you’re looking to hire people in the States.

LinkedIn.  With more than half a billion members, LinkedIn represents an incredible recruiting tool that lets you post job positions, build company brand, and network with quality remote workers around the world.

2. Set Clear Goals

In order to be able to boost your remote workers’ productivity, they need to know what is it that you’re trying to achieve.

Make sure to define your expectations and deadlines clearly. This will allow you to monitor and measure your remote employees’ work, but it will also help them meet your goals.

Tools to help you set clear goals:

Download a business plan template where you can easily articulate your company’s mission, goals, and purpose. Sharing your business plan with the people who work with you will give them a sense of connection and belonging to the company and motivate them to do their best.

3. Track and Measure the Results

Make sure to monitor the remote workers’ progress on a daily basis. This way, you’ll avoid any confusion resulting from communication gaps, as well as any unwanted surprises. Don’t forget to give frequent feedbacks so that the remote employees know whether they’re doing a good job.

Tools to help you track and measure remote work:

Trello (or Trello alternatives). This collaboration tool organizes the projects into boards and cards. It allows teams and users to add tasks, assign them to members of the team, set due dates, make comments, etc. It’s easy to see which projects are at progress and what certain employee is working on at the moment.

HiveDesk. This automatic time tracking software offers remote monitoring, task management, time tracking, performance reviews, activity reports, etc. HiveDesk takes random screenshots and measures productivity based on mouse movements and keystrokes.

HubStaff is a simple-to-use software that tracks employee work with timesheets, screenshots and more, to help you determine productivity and make data-driven decisions. Some of its great features include employee scheduling & monitoring, GPS tracking, payroll software, project budgeting, online invoicing, etc.

4. Communicate Regularly

Did you know that frequent communication often leads to greater employee engagement? A study from 2018 found that remote workers tend to invest more in their work. This confirms the findings of another study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, which determined that people who are working remotely are more engaged with their supervisors and colleagues than in-office employees.

Regular communication with remote teams is crucial in order to make sure that everyone in the team is informed about their tasks and updated about any changes. This way, you’ll ensure that all employees are on the same pages and that all issues holding up the work are resolved on time.

And since you can’t walk into a remote team’s office, you need to find a means of communication that suit everyone.

Tools to help you communicate effectively with your remote team:

Slack (or Slack alternatives). This team messaging app is made up of various channels where team members can communicate, share files, and work together.

Zoom is currently the best video conference app which allows you to communicate with more than 50 people at the same time without technical glitches like loss of sound or video. 

Skype is one of the most well-known tools for communication with remote teams. It provides video and voice calls between different devices including smartphones, computers, consoles, tablets, and smartwatches. Besides free calls, Skype also offers instant messaging and virtual meeting options.

Make sure that every remote worker can be easily reached through email, phone, or one of the team communication tool listed above. In order to build a stable and trustworthy relationship, check in daily to review the employees’ progress, but also to offer your help and support.

In Conclusion

Managing remote employees is definitely more challenging than managing workers that you meet face-to-face on a daily basis.

Luckily, there’s a large number of tools that you can use to keep your remote employees informed and engaged and to make sure they’re performing at their peak.