Contrary to popular belief, running your business with a virtual staff is neither an ineffective operation strategy nor a nerve-wracking management experience. If it were, how come more and more companies are relying on remote teams every year?
Virtual employees are slowly transforming the way businesses operate. They can work anytime anywhere and are just as competent as their workplace-based counterparts. So, don’t second-guess your decision to hire online professionals for your company. Performance-wise, remote staff can definitely deliver.
Working with remote staff, however, are not without its challenges.
The Challenges of Working with Remote Employees
If you don’t know how to manage a virtual team, you may encounter problems during your business operations. It’s highly likely that most of them will stem from the possible geographical differences of your virtual team.
The physical distance, time zone differences, language barriers, and diversity of personalities that your staff may have with you and with each other may hinder your company’s performance.
Top Tips for Managing Virtual Staff
Is it your first time working with virtual staff? If so, there’s a huge chance that you’ll fall for these challenges. But, don’t worry. Consider the following tips when you manage your remote team, and you’ll easily avoid these pitfalls.
Hire based on skills competence and values alignment.
The first factor is a given. Hire someone who can do the job well. The second factor, despite its seeming irrelevance, is just as essential as the former. Even if your employees won’t be sharing space, it’s imperative that they share your business values and will fit in well with your company’s culture. Otherwise, they may have problems working with you and each other. Consider these when you hire a virtual assistant online.
Limit your communication channels.
There is no shortage of communication platforms online. However, that doesn’t mean that you should employ as many of them as you can to connect your team. It’s best to settle on two platforms: one for formal correspondences and another for prompt messaging. Using more than two may confuse your employees.
Pro Tip: Establish your communication platforms before starting your hiring process.
Establish communication guidelines.
This is a must if you want to retain a certain level of order and formality in your correspondences. Develop comprehensive guidelines. Establish the reports that your staff will have to submit daily and weekly. Provide a detailed list of what they should contain. Make the guidelines easily accessible to your employees by condensing them in a single document and uploading it in a company-wide Google Drive.
Provide detailed training materials and instructions.
Of course, there’s a learning curve. You can’t expect your virtual staff to pick up everything, submit perfect works, and perform flawlessly immediately. Give them as much information as you can about their tasks. It’s the most effective way to shorten the transition period.
Keep your staff connected with cloud technology.
Make the most of cloud technology. Invest in one for your company and give your employees the chance to access the tools, content, and information they need to carry out their tasks. Consider investing in self-service portals. They can allow your teams to collaborate in real time, complete HR tasks, manage their job accounts, and more.
Maximize Your Virtual Staff
Make sure your virtual staff will make—not break—your business operations. Follow these tips to stave off communication disasters, scheduling issues, and other management mishaps.