With the help of technology, more and more people are offering their services virtually. For many freelancers, this is a good way to make money while maintaining a flexible schedule. Additionally, there are many benefits for small business owners when hiring a virtual staff. In fact, over the past decade, many business owners have opted to hire a virtual staff over bringing in employees to work in the office day in and day out.
For one, it is easy to hire a virtual staff, and it’s often a lot cheaper to pay virtual employees. However, managing that staff and maintaining positive relationships can present challenges. After all, it’s much easier to miscommunicate when you are using the Internet or phone, rather than meeting in person.
In order to maintain a positive relationship with your virtual staff, you’ve got a lot of homework to do. To get you started, here are some tips for helping you maintain good relationships from your virtually hired staff.
Match Tasks With the Proper Skillsets
When assigning project to a virtual employee, you must first gain an understanding of that employee’s field of expertise. A person who may be a great writer, won’t necessarily do a great job if you assign him to edit a photo in Photoshop, even if the photo is for the blog post they are writing for you. For the successful completion of task you must wisely match tasks with the skillsets of your staff. Sometimes virtual employees will try and do anything in order to maintain a positive relationship; just make sure you aren’t asking them to do something outside of their qualifications.
Focus on Communication
Poor communication is a common complaint among virtual employees. You ignore them too long, and poof, they are gone. Regular communication will allow the employee to reach out to you in case of any problems. Aside from keeping you updated with the advancement of any projects, regular communication also improves the relationship between virtual employer and virtual employee.
Get Somewhat Personal
When working together, trust is the base of your relationship. If you have any lack of trust, your relationship will collapse. The relationship between you and virtual staff may remain digital, but human nature is always social. Try to be social with your staff. Remember birthdays, ask about their family, hobbies, respect their religious beliefs, etc. This type of attention will build up trust and give him/her a sense that you do care for your staff.
Give Them a Sensible Timeline to Finish Work
Developing a timeline is important in accomplishing all of your work. Without keeping a timeline, it will be extremely difficult for virtual employees to stay on track. After making a timeline, the second milestone is to stick with your timeline, and let your virtual employee understand your expectations as the project continues.
Offer Both Constructive Criticism and Appreciation
Criticism and appreciation always have a positive impact on people. As they say, “there is always room for improvement,” and this improvement is brought about by constructive criticism. The right kind of criticism will be good for both of you, the employee and the employer. Remember when offering constructive criticism not to just complain, but to outline specific areas where he or she can improve. Also, tell your employees when they do a great job.
Organizing non-work related contest will allow the employees to be more active in your company. Apart from organizing non-work related contest, you can also organize work related contest and give away prizes on weekly or monthly basis. Mixing work with play has always improved the working capability of people. Gamification of work makes it less like work and more like fun. It will form a competitive atmosphere among the employees.
Even if virtually hired staff has strong background working for you, they will always need to stay oriented with the goals of your company. You should offer regular training sessions in order to let the employee know what role actually he or she has to play in the company.