You may be doing well managing your in-house office employees. You see them daily, can monitor them at work, and communicate with them anytime. While you’re crushing that side of the spectrum, it’s a different ball game for your remote contractors.
Despite remote work setups being more in-demand by employees worldwide, a survey conducted by JLL reveals that only 38% of 3,300 people surveyed believe they are productive at home.
This underscores the need for employers to do a much better job managing their remote employees and make efforts to ensure they’re being productive so they can meet and exceed expectations.
In this article, we walk you through five essential things you can do to manage your remote employee performance and make sure that they perform well every workday.
1. Set Expectations From the Outset
The expectations of workers in a remote work environment may differ slightly from workers in a normal office environment. Before you even hire your remote workers and officially onboard them, you need to make sure you’re setting their expectations straight so they align with yours. Give them a clear picture of their roles, what you expect from them daily, and how you would like them to perform. For example, do they expect to be able to work any time of the day that is convenient for them, while you are hoping for them to keep traditional 9–5 hours? Settling these issues at the outset will benefit all parties.
Give clear guidelines on how to do their work and what to expect
A remote work environment is unique in that your employees will not have anyone to guide them through their adjustment period face to face. Remote workers don’t have colleagues they can tap on the shoulder for help, nor can they just walk into your office for questions.
So it’s important you give them everything they need to succeed in their role. Provide clear guidelines about their responsibilities, how to go about their work days, the platforms or tools they need to use, company policies, etc. Make it as easy as possible for them to integrate themselves into your company.
Schedule formal employee performance reviews quarterly
You can motivate your remote workers to do their best by scheduling remote performance reviews. During this review, which can take place on a video call, you can assess how they’re performing regarding your key performance indicators (KPIs), whether that’s measuring their productivity or output quality.
When doing these performance reviews, ensure you have set concrete and realistic goals and communicate them with your remote contractor. This gives them goals to work towards and milestones to achieve every quarter.
Make sure that the employees are doing a job that matches their abilities
Whether someone is an office worker or works in a remote environment, naturally, they won’t do well in a job they don’t have the skills and abilities for. An accountancy graduate, for example, probably won’t do well in an HR role. Nor will a person without computer experience do well in your IT department.
So when hiring a remote worker, you need to be certain that their skill set and background match the job you’re hiring them for. Ask yourself what the role entails and look for a candidate that’s a perfect fit. Remember to look for soft skills essential for a remote working environment, like organizational and time management skills.
Near sources the best talent from Latin American (LatAm) for US companies that match the jobs they need to fill. We do a detailed investigation of the candidate’s skills, background, and abilities in order to match them with a position where they would excel.
2. Schedule Regular One-On-Ones
One of the most important things an employer can do for their remote employee is to be available, hence the importance of regular one-on-one meetings. Frequent communication lets your remote worker know you’re available when needed. Not to mention that this also gives you the opportunity to see how they’re doing.
Make it a point to hold regular check-ins with your remote workers. But make sure this isn’t too long or formal. Don’t drag it out longer than it needs to be. Use these short, regular meetings to talk to your remote workers about how they’re feeling. Make it a platform for them to provide feedback or voice their concerns and thoughts.
Conversations should be meaningful and personalized
While it may be tempting to hold conversations with your remote workers via chat or voice call for efficiency, you want to start making your talks more meaningful. You want to build a relationship with them akin to in-office camaraderie. Video conferencing platforms are great for this. And this can be as simple as turning on videos in your meetings to simulate in-person connection or asking them the right questions to make them feel thought of and valued.
Encourage two-way conversation
Communication with your remote workers shouldn’t only be initiated by you. Keep your lines open and encourage them to reach out to you for anything. Let them know you’re there to listen to them actively, whether it be a question about a particular task or a concern about the job.
Near implements open communication with the remote contractors that we place with our clients. We allow them to reach out to us for support, whether it be about the technicalities of their work, any cultural issues they are facing, or simply about how they’re feeling about their new employment.
We also check on each placement, assess how they’re doing, and provide this information to our clients (their employers). Sometimes this gives clients great insights into how they can improve their working relationships or even their branding or processes.
3. Create Team Visibility
Remote working can get lonely sometimes, especially without the acquaintance of coworkers in an office setting. Therefore, making each member feel seen and valued in a remote working environment is even more important.
One of the ways you can increase each member’s visibility is to welcome and entertain their feedback. Being directly involved in your company’s processes and systems, they likely have good (maybe even great) ideas about how you can innovate your approach and improve your operations. Make opportunities for frequent feedback conversations and let them know that you want to hear from them and do something to put their feedback to work.
Ask for status updates
Another way to make sure they feel seen and part of the team is to ask for regular updates on their tasks or projects. This will help you track the completion of your company goals and milestones and give you insights into how your remote workers are performing. That way, you can recognize those who are doing well and address matters with underperformers.
4. Trust Your Employees
Remote working setups are built on trust. It’s important that you can have complete trust in your remote workers when it comes to how they do their work and how productive they choose to be.
Create a culture of accountability
First and foremost, aim to create a culture of accountability. Allow your remote workers to define the tasks and projects they are accountable for and encourage them to take responsibility for mistakes and failures. Give them a safe space to acknowledge and take responsibility for mistakes and you’ll notice how long this goes into motivating them to do better.
Support remote worker autonomy
Remote working is appealing to many primarily because it gives them more freedom. With a remote work setup, they can manage their own schedules, work on their tasks as they please, and still have opportunities to address personal matters.
Your remote working setup should encourage worker autonomy and give your workers the freedom to work on their tasks their own way. This means staying away from micromanagement and strict computer trackers. However, there may still be times you need to step in.
If you can, avoid using software that controls when the worker is online and which apps they use. This doesn’t really motivate employees; it makes them feel observed and not trusted. Instead, try to adopt outcome-based performance appraisals and incentives to encourage employees to keep doing their best.
Encourage healthy boundaries
Amid your efforts to encourage employees to exceed expectations, make sure that you’re not putting too much pressure on your employees. Don’t allow them to feel as if they have to overextend to prove their skills or value in your company.
Encourage them to build healthy work boundaries and not take their personal lives for granted. After all, a healthy work-life balance is key to happy and satisfied employees.
5. Gather Other Kinds of Performance Data
Employee performance isn’t just about how fast they do their work or how much they can do in a given day. Performance levels also consider their workload, the effort they put into tasks, their relationship with other coworkers, and their rate of improvement.
Look out for behavioral concerns
Make sure you’re keeping an eye out for any behavior issues that don’t help foster a healthy working environment. Nip virtual harassment and other remote workplace misconduct right in the bud.
Monitor remote worker burnout
The last thing you want is for your remote workers to feel burned out. Monitor their workload closely and ensure that everyone has a healthy workload. Remember that this isn’t about the number of tasks—also consider how certain deliverables may be more difficult, time-consuming, or stressful than others. And, of course, make every effort to ensure that your remote workers are not overwhelmed.
Use a more flexible performance assessment
Many companies rate employee performance using numbers, scores, and rankings. But this doesn’t really tell the worker much about what they’re doing well and what needs improvement. Instead of using rankings in a formal assessment, focus on giving narrative assessments that tell them exactly how they’re performing.
Give them more insight into how they’re doing, what issues you’re seeing, and how they can improve. When giving assessments, always acknowledge your remote workers’ efforts instead of just focusing on the big picture or the end result.
Managing a remote workforce will require active effort on your end. But with these tips, you can motivate your remote workers to be productive and on their way to exceeding expectations.
If keeping a remote team productive seems overwhelming, you don’t have to do it alone—you can enlist the help of a staffing firm with experience building a robust remote workforce, from streamlining communication channels to adopting efficient scheduling systems. Aside from finding top-tier talent for their client companies, they also often do regular check-ins and provide support in the first few months to help the employee adjust to their new role.
If you would like help with building a productive remote team, Near helps US companies find remote workers from LatAm and keep them motivated, happy, and productive on the job. We have a performance guarantee, ensuring that you’re matched with the best candidates suited for the role you’re hiring for and that every placement is a perfect fit. If for any reason the placement doesn’t work out, we offer to find a replacement free of charge.
Start interviewing remote workers to join your company today. Interview LatAm talent for free with Near. There is no fee until you hire one of our highly skilled candidates.