How to Manage Employees in a Virtual Office

If you’re one of the millions of small business owners who decided early to operate in a virtual environment, then you know the problems with keeping tabs on employees and tracking their progress. Having a virtual business means you don’t operate in a central office, but rather do business at home. That means you don’t have the opportunity to peek over your employee’s shoulder to see if they’re surfing Facebook, or keep everyone working hard with the old “MBWA” method – Management By Walking Around.

How do you assure that your employees are giving you 100% from their homes or coffeeshop of choice? Here are some tips:

Ask For A Status Report

Sure, working from home means that your employees save time on commuting to an office. Why not use a small amount of that time to have them fill out a status or log report? You can easily design a simple Excel worksheet form or print it out to have them complete by hand. Have your employees note what was accomplished each day, such as number of customer service calls, amount of accounts payable bills processed, etc. This report will allow you to see how productive your employees are without your presence.

Check in with Skype

Even within a virtual office environment, you will need to communicate with employees. Be sure that your employees have a simple communication tool like Skype where you can tune in and have a discussion. This gives you assurance that they are at their home desk and working away. You could also use a simple chat feature to have short discussions via instant message.

Have Live Meetings

Regardless of any virtual office, you should form a policy to meet at least once or twice a week. It could be a lunch meeting, coffee shop get-together, or even a nice outing in the park on a sunny day. Staying in touch one-on-one is important to giving your employees the notion that you do expect results.

A virtual company is a great way to save money on overhead expenses. Be sure that you give expectations to your employees, and assure that results are provided.

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