More people than ever are working from home. Those who are managers in charge of remote employees have a completely new people management system to learn. If you are considering moving to a virtual environment for your employees, are you ready to handle the differences?

Some statistics indicate that 2.8 million telecommuters are in the United States – and that was in 2008. People like the benefit of working from home and not having to work the typical 9 to 5 day. However, supervising in these situations requires a different set of goals. With effective guidelines in place, managing this new type of staff does not have to be difficult at all.

Set Expectations

The first step in being successful is to establish clear expectations at the very start of the process. Be sure to provide both what the expectations are and what the instructions are for working from home. Consider things such as:

  • Rules for working
  • Deadlines for employees
  • Detailed, written instructions and training manuals
  • Methods for keeping employees up to date

By doing this, you ensure the manager has a good start heading into the process. He or she can better handle the manager role at this point.

Ensure Communication Remains Open

To make sure remote workers can do their job and work within the guidelines of the tasks, ensure there is a simple and seamless method of communicating. Creating open lines of communication at all times with the staff is critical. This means being able to communicate about:

  • Questions
  • Concerns
  • Feedback
  • Anything the manager needs to say or do
  • Anything the employee needs to say or do

Opening communication ensures employees remain engaged in the business and able to attain their goals.

Use Technology Wisely

There is a great deal of technology available today but it is very easy to abuse this type of technology. Use email to send memos and files, but do not allow it to become a distraction during the day. Be sure that employees who need to use software can use it and have a good understanding of how to do so. Use technology to enhance the experience but not to limit the success of the team.

Encourage a Regular Work Schedule

Working from home does mean more flexibility for those who are managing their lives it is a good idea to encourage workers to manage their time wisely. If employees set schedules, it is easier to track and manage projects. It also allows the employee to maintain a schedule right for their needs.

Taking these steps will help ensure the business continues to run the way it should. It also allows employees the flexibility they need.

Photo Credit: Ambro

Do you like this article or have questions about managing a remote workforce? Get in touch with The HR Writer today or leave your comments below!