5 Tips for Managing Remote Writers
Given that 43% of employees report working remotely at some point during the year, every one of them had a manager responsible for handling the situation. Managing remote employees is a more complicated task than managing people who you get to see every day. There are more nuanced and different tactics necessary for handling the needs specific to remote employees.
Here are a few of the ways you could make life easier managing remote writers.
1. Keep Channels of Communication Open
Remotely managing employees requires you to focus your energies on communication. You can’t manage your employees if you can’t stay in touch with them. You need open channels of communication in order to allow everyone to feel heard and for everyone to be managed.
The difference between a boss and a leader is the difference between whether you’re telling people what to do or doing it with them. When you make the effort to keep communication open, you share the workload.
Communication is a two-way street, but as the manager, you need to always be directing traffic even as you traverse that street. Make it easy for your employees to communicate, let them know their opinion is valued and make sure you’re always open to criticism.
No matter what, never be too busy for your remote writers. If they hit a writer’s block, get stuck on a piece of research, or just need some feedback.
2. Always Encourage
Being a writer is hard. It can be isolating work, you often doubt your own ideas, and it’s hard to tell whether or not you’re on the right path with your work. Sometimes you can get lost in an idea, even when you’re just writing technical texts.
Having a manager to check in with you and to be encouraging is priceless.
When it’s time to evaluate the work of your employees, start by putting yourself in their shoes. See how much they’ve done, what it means to them, and whether or not they pushed themselves. Not everyone is going to have the same aptitude for the same work, but as long as the quality is strong and employees truly care, make sure they’re appreciated.
When you give feedback, couch your feedback in praise. You can be direct about what you think needs to change in any given piece but you need to show appreciation for the time put in.
When someone works hard on a piece of writing, they will have a connection to the words on the page. They’ll feel like the feedback is personal. Always make sure that it’s not and that your feedback doesn’t say that they don’t care for their work or for the quality of output your business needs.
Managing writers is fun because you’re often dealing with unique personalities and creative people. It also means you’ll have to have a certain kind of sensitivity
3. Make Sure Hours Are Accounted For
The hardest thing for you to do as a manager of writers who work for you remotely is to make sure that everything is getting done on schedule. Once one or two deadlines slip by, it can be hard to make up for lost time. If you don’t have control over your employees’ schedules, things can start to pile up quickly.
You need to make sure that everyone is working the hours they are supposed to be working.
In order to do that, you can automate your scheduling. Pay for a high-quality employee schedule maker so that you can easily assign writing tasks and make it clear who is responsible for what.
Time is valuable when it comes to managing your remote employees. If you have people working in a variety of time zones, there’s a lot of trust that goes into your working relationship. Making sure that all tasks are taken care of means making sure that everyone is clear about their schedule and their responsibilities.
4. Use a Common Interface
Using a common interface is like making sure you’re all speaking the same language. A common interface where you can assign tasks, check in writing, and edit your work allows everyone to work from the same point of view.
Setting up a common work environment allows you to be a better manager of your employees. It means that you can set the standards of what you need and how you need it. It also allows your customers to know what to expect from you.
If everyone is giving you different file formats, using different fonts, and writing with different tools, you’re not going to have the uniformity you need. You’re already working with a variety of remote employees. You need to have a common foundation.
5. Give Them Referral Points
Your best employees probably surround themselves with great talent. If you’re hiring remote writers, it means you’ve got more work than you might be able to handle on your own.
You should allow them to do some of the talent scouting for you. Give them points or rewards for referring talented people to you. Once their referrals have completed several tasks, give them a bonus as a thank you.
You’ll find they’ll start referring friends and only the most talented people they know. You’ll start building a bench based on your strongest talent, which will give you a strong foundation for future growth.
Managing Remote Employees Has Great Benefits
When you’re dealing with remote employees, you have some hurdles as far as dealing with people face to face and making sure requests are fulfilled. You’re also in a great position because you’re going to be dealing with some of the most talented people in your industry. While it’s a delicate dance to make your remote employees happy, always communicate as clearly as possible and you’ll be thankful you get such great talent.
If you’re looking to find more talent, make sure you understand what it takes to be a freelancer.