Managing Virtual Employees: Five Keys to Accountability, Productivity and Collaboration
In most situations, the classic business operator would have a preference towards managing a staff in person as opposed to virtually. However, during times of social distancing, businesses around the world are turning to technology to help alleviate the inability to manage a company in person. In an attempt to be a resource to those making the shift from in-person to virtual offices, see below five keys in which I’ve learned while managing hundreds of virtual employees over the past ten years.
- Tracking is VERY Important: When you aren’t physically with someone, it becomes much more difficult to understand what’s being worked on. Fortunately, there are a number of online tracking, screen monitoring and productivity analysis for fee services that can aid in this challenging task. When it comes to tracking, we always want to understand who’s working, what they’re working on, if we’re meeting productivity and client expectations. Once tasks become repetitive, it’s easier to identify expectations on how long things should take. Recommended Resource: TSheets
- Contact Management: The age-old CRM has come a long way. When managing a team virtually, the contact management system becomes more important than ever. Not only should you be inputting data and updating records inside of your CRM, every email sent from your company’s address should be tracked and recorded properly inside of the chosen contact management system. This gives system administrators the ability to review all activity throughout the day inside of one online portal. The right CRM should also help with leads by generating forms that can be incorporated throughout your website and landing pages. Recommended Resource: HubSpot
- Cloud Based Storage and Networking: When working virtually, sharing documents easily and safely, both internally and to clients becomes a requirement if you plan on having a successful operation. Smart file archiving is of utmost importance, as it sets the stage for future production and team interaction. Similar to your contact management system, cloud-based networks on a company level should be segmented by user access and observable by a system administrator. Recommended Resource: Sharefile
- Collaboration: Some may say that virtual employees struggle with company interaction and are not as responsive to the task at hand; our experience has been exactly the opposite. With the help of a free application that can be installed on a phone (skype), team members can immediately get in touch with each other; text and voice, domestic and international! Creating project and personnel specific chat groups makes it easy to spread company specific news as well as segment individualized project discussion. Recommended Resource: Skype, Microsoft 365
- Standardization: It’s easy to misinterpret someone who is standing right in front of you, let alone someone through a text message or voice chat. As a result, standardization when working virtually becomes paramount. Don’t misunderstand, creativity is not standardized, standardization is for tasks that are capable of being duplicated. Standardized and documented process will prove to be a great asset for both optimizing client response and developing future training materials. Recommended Resource: Asana
Our Company, Built to Suit Brands was founded on the premise that professionals would begin seeking out cost effective, alternatives to the traditional in-office employee model. Primarily servicing Commercial and Residential Real Estate companies, our “Virtual Marketing Department” provides a turnkey solution capable of handling all of your ongoing marketing needs.