A virtual employee is a full-time employee who works from a different location than your local office or company headquarters. Hiring a virtual employee is an increasingly common business practice as improving technology connects us in more efficient ways.
As we become more accustomed
to managing and working with virtual employees, we see common issues arising, including the loss of productivity. But there are strategies for combating a loss of motivation or accountability. Here are five ways to keep a virtual employee productive.
- 1. Establish a clear set of expectations.
When hiring a virtual employee, be sure to establish firm expectations from the start. These expectations should not be set to intimidate the employee, but instead to build trust and help the employee better understand their role within the company. Expectations should be in writing and discussed on a consistent basis.
- 2. Make a focused effort to communicate regularly.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for managers and virtual employees is maintaining communication. Whether it’s through scheduled check-ins or business-centered communication platforms, managers should focus on including the virtual employee as much as possible. Feeling like a valued member of a team can increase motivation and quality of work.
- 3. Offer a virtual office location for virtual employees to use.
Some virtual employees struggle with the lack of structure when working from a home office or coffee shop. Virtual offices provide a host of services that can give virtual employees a greater sense of purpose.
Dedicated office space in a desirable location can energize and organize a virtual employee, and shared working environments also can keep them socially engaged throughout the day. And when it’s time to meet a virtual employee in person, a virtual office provides an ideal professional environment to catch up. Virtual office space from Intelligent Office is an on-demand business solution, which means you only pay for the services you need, when you need them.
- 4. Let virtual employees make their own schedule.
Some people work better in the morning, while others work better at night. Allowing a virtual employee to set their own schedule empowers them and increases performance. That doesn’t mean they are excused from team meetings or other professional responsibilities, but production should not be limited to certain times of the day.
- 5. Recognize good work.
Another easy way to build team chemistry with a virtual employee is recognizing them when they produce quality work. Without direct contact, a virtual employee can feel unappreciated or out of the loop. Publically recognizing their hard work can inspire loyalty and increase future production.
How do you keep your virtual employees engaged and productive? Share your best strategies and experiences in the comments!