As a business owner you are comfortable with the daily routine of your office. You know the intricacies of your workplace and are comfortable with the workflow. You can see the friendly faces of your employees in every cubicle or behind each desk. Your business has a rhythm and when you achieve that rhythm, everything seems to go so well.
What happens when you decide to use the services of virtual staff? How does that impact your traditional office? What adjustments will you need to make? These are good questions and the answers can help you easily navigate the transition.
Robyn is the president of an online publishing software company and found herself faced with these same questions. She transitioned from working at a newspaper to operating the software company. Robyn was used to the daily interaction with other employees and discovered that there are some adjustments to working in the virtual world. Robyn shares three helpful tips when making this addition to your company.
First, “An employer must be intentional about creating a bond with a virtual employee,” Robyn states. “When you are in a traditional work environment, that interaction comes naturally, but when you deal with someone that you may never actually meet, building that relationship and establishing a bond of trust takes a little more effort,” Robyn continues. Of course, working on the relationship is part of the outsource staff member’s responsibility as well.
Good communication is essential to forming an effective working relationship, no matter where your employee is working. Establishing a good working relationship with your outsource staff is just as important as the relationships you have with your in-house employees.
Next, Robyn encourages other business owners to establish a schedule or routine with their outsource staff. Since these offsite staff do not necessarily have set hours, the employer and virtual workers need to agree upon what is expected in regards to a work schedule and the duties to be performed. Having a pre-determined list of expectations can prevent any confusion in the future and keep the lines of communication open.
Finally, implement all of the available technologies to keep the work flowing between employer and outsource staff. According to Robyn, the more you make use of things like instant messaging, teleconferencing , faxing and emailing, the easier the communication will be. “Don’t limit yourself to one method of keeping in touch. Be sure your offsite employee has all of the software that is needed to complete the work you have assigned,” emphasizes Robyn.