Adding to the seemingly endless list of things the digital world enables us to do is the ability to work from virtually anywhere. Whether your employees are always remote or only occasionally, you can shift your leadership style to meet this change in work habits – and, of course, retain your all-star boss status.
Here's how to manage your remote employees with admirable flair:
Schedule regular check-ins
Remote employees may be out of sight, but they should still be top of mind. That means checking in with them regularly on a one-to-one basis. Even if you don't have any pressing updates, questions or assignments to discuss, don't cancel the check-in. Talking to remote employees frequently helps them feel more included and creates an opportunity to build the rapport that develops naturally with those working in the office. Don't forget: They may work in the comfort of their pajamas, but that doesn't mean remote employees can't get in on the inside jokes.
While no one expects you to answer emails at 2 o'clock in the morning, it's important to be sensitive to remote employee time zones and availability. Your local employees have the advantage of walking over to your desk and having questions answered immediately. While you'll never be able to replicate that entirely with remote employees, you can still make yourself available.
The Forbes Coaches Council defined this as treating remote as local, giving them as much access to you as possible so they don't feel uncomfortably distant. Make sure your remote employees know when they can reach you, and try to respond as soon as possible. Use multiple means of communication, such as chat boxes and instant messaging platforms, so pressing concerns and quick questions don't get lost in your inbox.
Embrace the power of video
The best way to connect with remote employees is video chatting and conferencing – just give them a heads up so they know to put on real clothes and brush their hair. Video makes it easy to collaborate with multiple team members and clients, no matter where everyone is located. Plus, video conferencing software like ReadyTalk Meeting allows you to easily present content, share screens, record meetings and customize the experience for your needs. Whether it's time for trainings, weekly check-ins, project updates or brainstorming sessions, upgrade to video for a much more inclusive, engaging experience. Odds are your remote employees will start feeling more local when they can see and interact with everyone on the team.
With a little extra effort, you'll be earning mega points with your remote employees.