As the concept of remote workers becomes more mainstream, even massive companies like Amazon are moving more toward increasing the ranks of their remote teams. There are inherent advantages to having remote employees, including lower overhead costs, but also the ability to easily do business across geographic boundaries and to have access to a larger and more skilled pool of talent.
So what about managing those remote employees? How is it best done in 2017?
Along with the logistical concerns of day-to-day management, which will be detailed below, it’s important to think about expense management best practices for remote teams. Your remote employees need to be able to cover the cost of doing business, but it can be even more difficult to put a streamlined policy in place when you have a large remote workforce.
A few things to keep in mind include choosing effective expense management software that can be accessed from worker’s mobile devices and also limiting the number of company credit cards you issue.
You want all employees including your remote workers to have a simple way to submit receipts, and using a strong expense management platform gives you centralized visibility to what’s happening all over the world.
When you have a central expense management system, it’s easier to reimburse all employees more quickly, no matter where they’re located, and it cuts down on a lot of frustration and red tape that can frequently accompany the management of expenses.
Make Remote Employees A Priority
It can be difficult to make remote employees feel included and like they’re part of your culture, particularly if they’re in different countries, or you have a main headquarters where many of your employees are located.
It’s up to you as a company leader to make an effort to include and prioritize all employees, including the ones working remotely. As part of your employee training include remote work information to everyone, as a way to help them understand that these off-site employees are an integral part of your business.
You should also make sure you’re investing in the tools and technology to communicate quickly and easily with remote employees, and also have face time with them when needed.
When you’re sharing instructions or information, use visual elements including not only video calls but also screen shots and other images that will illustrate what you’re trying to convey.
At most corporations, employees are offered regular free perks, and it goes a long way toward improving their satisfaction and making them feel appreciated. Try to recreate this for your remote employees. As an example, if you regularly bring lunch in for employees at your office, reimburse your remote employees for an occasional lunch they can treat themselves to.
Another way to encourage remote employees is to share their successes with the rest of your team via company-wide messaging. Recognition is important to keep all employees motivated.
As a final note, with the management of remote employees, it’s important to judge their performance based on the outcomes instead of how they’re getting to that outcome. When you try to micromanage remote employees it becomes burdensome for everyone involved, so the fewer checkpoints between an employee and the finished outcome, the better in most cases.