Readers are invited to submit a question which we will then pose to one of our Forbes Councils members. This group is full of knowledge and experience — we’re eager to share their insights with you.
Question: How Can I Best Manage Remote Employees?
I’m starting a remote company; can you give me some advice on policies and best practices for managing a remote workforce?
Meet our Executive: Brad Williams, CEO and Co-Founder, WebDevStudios
Brad Williams is the CEO and co-founder of the website design and development agency WebDevStudios. He is also a co-author of the books Professional WordPress and Professional WordPress Plugin Development. Brad is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and has been developing websites for over 20 years. In the last 10, Brad has specifically focused on open-source technologies like WordPress.
Answer: Trust and Communication
My company is fully-remote with 32 employees spread out across 17 states in the United States (and one in Canada!). To me being a successful remote company has always come down to two things: trust and communication.
First, you have to trust your team. You have to trust they will be responsible and capable of working remotely. You have to trust they they will be available and working during their set hours. You have to trust they will get their work completed in a timely manner. Without trust, working remotely will never be successful. And of course, always remember: Trust, but verify.
Secondly, you have to have amazing communication. We really heavily on two tools for communication: Slack and Zoom. Slack is our day-to-day chatroom for everything related to our company. We have channels for each project, our leadership team, project leads, marketing, sales, etc. We also have fun channels for things like our book club, healthy eating, football, baseball, board gamers, etc. We use Zoom for most calls internally and with our clients. We feel it’s important to have video calls throughout the day. This really helps to feel like you are in the room with your coworkers and also see each other’s smiling faces!
We ask our team to check-in when they start work in the morning and check-out when they are leaving. They also need to let their manager know if they are going to step away from their computer for longer than a few minutes.
Ultimately the best way to know if a remote employee is actually doing what they should is based on their work. Are they completing their work in the time you expect? Is their work up to the quality you expect? Employee work results are the easiest way to determine if someone is abusing a remote working position.