It might seem intimidating to hire remote workers, especially if you're never planning on meeting them face-to-face. However, remote workers may turn into some of your best employees. All you need to do is put in the work to ensure that you have a trusted relationship with your new team.
By working remotely, your employees are offered a little more freedom. And since you're trusting them to get their work done in an environment that's comfortable for them, they'll be more willing to prove their worth. These days, there are plenty of ways to connect, either through Zoom or by using a service like Slack, which allows individuals everywhere the ability to chat and share documents. And, products like Vibe are essential when it comes to group collaboration, especially for a creative project.
Here are ways you can build trusted relationships with your work team. And believe me, they're much easier than you may think.
You'll want to keep things professional, but knowing a little about your team will be extremely beneficial. Do they have kids? Do they like dogs? What kind of educational background do they have? Treat them the same as you would with an in-house employee. Make them feel like they're truly part of the team. By investing time in them as individuals, you're strengthening your team.
Working from home can often be tough, but your best remote workers will know how to self-motivate and get the work done. That said, you don't want to be buzzing their phone at 9 pm, unless it's a true emergency. Treat them as if they left their “office” and will be unable to answer a huge question until the next workday. That said, sometimes a situation becomes urgent. If your coworker rarely hears from you after their work hours, they'll be more likely to volunteer some extra time in when an emergency strikes.
Don't hold meetings for the sake of holding meetings, but it's still good to check in with people through screen. Meetings help remote workers feel like they're all on the same page with their boss. Quartz writer Simone Stolzoff actually feels as if all meetings should be on video — even with an in-house team. “Unless you’re holding a meeting to discuss a project in an abstract sense, you’ll probably want to do as a group the same things we do when we work on our own, like reference old documents, do research on the fly, or share links with colleagues,” they said. “All of those things are made easier when everyone in the meeting is online at the same time.”
This is important for both remote and in-house workers, but it means even more to those who don't work in an office with you. The reason being, they can't get a good read on your body language and simply might not realize whether or not their work is at a level you expect. Remote workers need that “well done” text, or thumbs-up emoji. It's just a good way for them to know they're an important part of the team.
Remote workers can't see what you're doing. You may be in the midst of a phone call, but they're unable to tell. You don't need to completely disclose your weekly schedule to them, but let them know if you'll be away for the morning, or if you have a doctor's appointment to attend. Remote workers value time. For some of them, they only get paid for the material they submit. So make sure that when you respond to emails, theirs are first. It's the best way to show respect to your team, while also making sure they're productive.
Create opportunities for them to get to know each other outside of work. You can always host online movie screenings with your team, or perhaps hold an annual conference that they're invited to. It's hard for remote workers to make “work friends,” but it's not impossible.
Don't try to negotiate a smaller salary for the luxury of working from home. “Working from home is no longer being seen as a benefit or reward, but rather a legitimate way to work,” FlexJobs writes, noting the extreme growth of remote work in recent years. They're actually doing you a favor by staying home.
The best choice you can make is to hire remote workers. Think about all of the talented people in the world that you'll allow yourself access to. It's a great way to get supreme candidates without worrying about relocation. Just remember to treat them with respect, and check in the same way you would with an in-house employee.