Essential Tips to Managing your iPloyee
They say it’s a small world and it’s getting smaller by the day.
In today’s global economy there are skilled people around the world that can help to both you build your company or give you the time.
With the ever spiralling costs of being an employer in the UK, it becomes all the more enticing to hire people in other countries to join your team. Adding these iPloyees to your team present unique challenges to management that you may be overlooking. Improving them will improve morale, productivity, and team cohesion.
Make time for small talk
When managing your iPloyees, it’s easy to just talk about what needs to get done and jump off your call, end your chat, and get back to other things. And in some cases, that’s exactly what you should do. However, if that’s all you do, you’re really missing out on a critical part of management.
You must build rapport with every member of your team. Rapport is what will help you work through problems each team member has, trust they can come to you with things important to them, and give you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake or an unpopular decision.
Rapport does not come from doing and talking about work. Rapport comes from getting to know your iPloyee as a complete person. Ask them what they’re into, about their family, and where they’re from. Demonstrating you care is important to your iPloyee and essential for you to truly understand their motivations. Taking the time to do this will also make them like working for you more.
Research shows more than half of human communication is non verbal. When you don’t get to see someone in the office every day, having any type of visual clue to what someone is thinking is essential. Whether you’re gauging their reaction to a change in plans, or just trying to judge their overall mood that day, video tells you way more than an audio-only call or chat will ever reveal.
With so many free and inexpensive solutions for video chat (like Skype, Google hangouts etc.), there’s no reason not to switch to video whenever you can. Trust your instincts when you see something might be wrong and take the time to ask about it. Those non-verbal clues you see on video are your opportunity to fix problems when they’re small for your iPloyee.
Have longer “one on ones”
Since you don’t have all those moments in the office to build rapport and talk about issues ad hoc, make up for it by setting aside more time for your one on ones with your iPloyees.
The best way to handle this is to give your iPloyee a full hour every week on your calendar for one on ones. This ensures you can cover a variety of topics and really dive into issues that aren’t covered because they’re not in the office for ad hoc discussions.
NEVER cancel a “one on one”
Cancelling one on ones is the fastest way to build resentment in your team. They’ll probably agree if you ask, but that’s more about a power dynamic between manager and report than they really didn’t want to talk. There is always more to talk about even with your reports you sit next to.
iPloyees miss out on a lot of things going on in your office. They also miss out on the kinds of information that would naturally spread across an office related to other parts of the company and brief announcements. One on ones provide an opportunity to make up for that as well as handle all the little things that build up over the course of a week. With so much to cover, you simply cannot afford to miss one for these team members.
Pick a time that always works for you for your iPloyee 1 on 1s and make them sacred on your calendar. If you absolutely have to, reschedule it, but never cancel.
Build a culture of adding people on Skype
It’s easy to have discussions and pause and say, “Sam should be involved.” If Sam is in the office you will likely grab them and bring them into your meeting, but if Sam is remote, that often gets forgotten, or quickly passed over as not worth the hassle.
As a leader, set the example. When situations like that arise, you should go out of your way to get the iPloyee into the meeting. If you would have interrupted someone in the office, then it’s worth bringing them in, or waiting until they’re available.
Whether you convey that it doesn’t matter or that it is important to loop in your iPloyees, the rest of your team will follow your lead. You can make this easier by having the right tools at your disposal (the same software on everyone’s computers, hardware in conference rooms, etc) to reduce the friction of looping someone in.
Send them and their families company swag
It’s easy to forget about how little merchandise your iPloyees have as you sit in a sea of t-shirts by your desk.
In my experience, the moment iPloyees get their pressies is a big deal; getting to work for a company that is exciting, cutting edge, and has cool swag is part of what likely convinced them to join your company instead of something locally.
Send whatever merchandise you have, so that iPloyees have them, too. They’ll feel more connected to the team and not forgotten by the main office that may have people on video wearing company swag all the time.
Bonus points to send the right sizes for their husbands, wives and kids. There’s a good chance the family will wear them and next thing you know your logo is on their Facebook and Instagram showing off your awesome company.
Don’t forget about their career paths
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking of your iPloyees as mercenaries helping you get things done. But just like the people in your office, they have goals and aspirations. Ensuring they make progress on their goals for growth and understand the career paths available by being remote avoids confusion or frustration.
If you follow through on the recommendation to have a one hour for one on ones with iPloyees, you will have plenty of time to talk about their goals.
Equip your team with knowledge of the basic aims and foundations of your company. Make sure everyone is familiar with the company values enough so that if they need to make an urgent, educated guess, they’re likely to make the right one for the business. For example, do you lean towards transparency or discretion? Do you prioritize action or caution?
As more businesses begin to allow their employees to connect to the company intranet from a home office, hotel or other remote location, it is important to maintain high levels of security, at all costs. When functioning properly, accessing the company intranet provides workforce flexibility and higher productivity.
Protect Every Device
Malicious software that is designed to steal data often infects a computer through an email or website. To reduce the potential of malware infections always utilize the best security software and proper computer practices.
Utilize Cloud Applications
Utilizing the features of a cloud service provider, the company can maintain a high level of security. A cloud service provider uses data encryption technology while transmitting confidential information from remote locations to the company intranet.
Maintain a Secure Connection
Utilizing a virtual private network is the best way to ensure that all the employees Internet traffic remains fully secure. A third-party VPN service will have installed all the necessary security patches and continuously monitor for any signs of malware or infection.
Develop Strict Guidelines
Creating and implementing strict user guidelines will help minimize the potential of a security breach from a remote location. The company should specify exactly who has authorized access from a remote location, and detail exactly what network protocols must be used. Using a remote access server that is designed specifically to manage remote location connections will make it more secure. It will prevent hackers from gaining unauthorized access through the process of continually submitting sequences of generated passwords.
The company IT department or managed service provider (MSP) must set up a system to recognize a probe. This type of penetration is often detected by high-volume attempts from hackers working to gain access into the company system. Many times probes will generate confusion or curiosity when misunderstood by the IT department.