3 Tips About How to Be a Better Virtual Boss

Are you managing employees remotely? Make sure you practice these three simple rules to keep morale and output high.

Regus VP of Marketing Rebecca Tann manages employees in every time zone of the U.S., none of whom live in the same city or state as she. Tann offers three proven tips for managing remote employees.

Three Tips to Be Better at Managing Employees Remotely

1. Promote personal connections. When you accept a leadership position, you also take on the role of motivator and connector. So, even when your staff is geographically dispersed, it’s important to cultivate a team environment where your employees feel connected to you and to each other.

To foster this sense of teamwork, I start by encouraging my employees to communicate with each other via social media. I suggest they tweet an article that a colleague was quoted in, post a holiday greeting on a coworker’s Facebook page or connect on LinkedIn. A culture of teamwork promotes accountability, responsibility and a sense of support, rather than a disjointed “every man for himself” attitude.

2. Communicate constantly. Since you can’t just swing by your employee’s desk to talk about an upcoming project, it’s important to keep all other lines of communication open. Maintaining a constant dialogue via phone, IM, email and other technologies helps minimize miscommunication, which can often lead to unmet expectations and failure to deliver quality results.

For team meetings, I rely on video conference calls (we have both weekly and quarterly Skype meetings), so my team gets face time with one another. Of course, coordinating meetings and conference calls introduces another challenge entirely: time zones. To minimize confusion, choose one universal time zone. We use our Dallas headquarters’ central time zone so that whenever a timeframe is referenced, no one is left wondering, “Is that 4 p.m. your time or my time?”

3. Provide feedback and recognition. I strive to provide immediate feedback as the work is delivered. I make sure to always acknowledge good work and provide constructive criticism in real time, not days or months later. When you’re not regularly face to face, it can be easy to let things slide, but to ensure positive progress, you need to provide this consistent communication.

All this recognition shouldn’t end with you. To ensure my team’s good work is recognized all the way up the leadership chain, I have a “highlights callout” on my agenda where I showcase recent accomplishments to our executive team. Even though my employees aren’t present in the office, this ensures that their work is still visible.

Story  by Kathryn Jones