Tools and Tips for Managing Offsite Employees

Being at the office and logging in from nine to five isn’t cutting it anymore; employees want greater flexibility at work. If you don’t provide your team with flexible work from home options, you might just find yourself losing some of the best people in your company. While big companies might have the resources to equally qualified replacements, small to medium-sized businesses, or startups might not have enough to help them survive the loss. That’s why it’s essential to start offering employees with work-from-home solutions.

But how do you keep them all in line? Here’s how to use video to achieve your goals:

Build trust

One of the things remote team managers need to focus on is building trust, the Entrepreneur says. You can use video calls and meetings to make this possible. With video, offsite employees can get much-needed face time with their coworkers. This improves the level of trust they feel with their team mates. After all, it’s different when you work with a person you only know as an email address and someone you regularly see on video or social. That adds a different dimension to the relationship. If you’re looking for an effective way to build trust in your team, this is a fine option to go for.

Reduce miscommunication

It can be hard to tamp down on miscommunications during in-person meetings. It’s going to get even harder to try and relay instructions over email, text or the phone. Face to face contact gives you visual cues—a frown or a clear smile—to give you an idea what the other people in the meeting thinks. All those context cues get lost in translation when you do email, chat or audio conferences. It’s easy to misunderstand a text or phrase so people think someone’s rude, being snippy or curt when there’s simply no intent to be any of those things. By using video, you can reduce, if not completely eliminate, miscommunication from happening and prevent conflicts that could hurt professional relationships and team camaraderie from happening.

Engage them

Don’t be boring. Long, boring emails rarely get read right to the end. People also fail to remember anything useful from long, convoluted emails. Grab their attention, instead. Use humor, if you’ve got a talent for it. Better engagement always leads to higher productivity levels so do your best to make those meetings count. With video, though, you’ve already got an edge. That’s because on video, people know everyone can see them. They can’t read their emails or play games on their computer so they have no other recourse than to put their undivided attention on you. By investing in products from well-known industry names like BlueJeans and its slew of business video conferencing systems, you can easily improve the engagement level in your meetings.

Organize your day

Organization makes a difference. By using tools like Trello, you can easily put up a to-do list for the day, week and month. Onsite and offsite employees will find it easy to keep track of the daily deliverables. And because of its bulletin-board style interface, they’ll also have fun transferring notes and checking out tasks off their board once they’re done. If for anything else, the tactile experience proves to be a delightful touch.

Adapt your displays

Some apps adjust the brightness of your screen, depending on what time it is. So if you’re like any other night owl out there and typically get deep into things in the middle of the night or right in the early hours of the morning, then this app should come in handy. After all, after 8 hours of non-stop work, the light outside your window changes. If you’re too busy to notice and adjust the lights, at least the app can do something to ensure you’re working under the best lighting conditions. After all, if it’s too bright or too dark, then that’s going to hurt your eyes and slow you down in the process. With the right tint on your screen, you and your teams, no matter what their time zones are, can keep going until all the work is done.

Get an Airbnb

While video conferencing can help you reduce your travel costs in a huge way, you’ll still need to do a spot of traveling here and there. So if you need to get to an event or prepare that yearly staff meeting for onsite and offsite teams, then it’s best to find the most affordable but suitable options in the market. With so many Airbnb home owners offering the use of wonderful commercial properties and spaces, you’re sure to find the kind of rental that fits the bill, says Fast Company. So if you can’t video call that meeting, no worries. You can still scout for other options until you find affordable ones that won’t eat up all the cost-savings you got from making video meetings a regular part of your communication strategy.

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