Having a business with a remote workforce can be remarkably rewarding for everyone involved. Employees will likely feel that they have their dream job and you will save all of the hassles and expenses that come with operating a brick and mortar business on a day to day basis, while still reaping the benefits of having a business. Working with a remote workforce is not without its challenges, however, and one of those is making sure that your team stays as productive as possible from a distance.

1. Provide Online Sharing Tools

First and foremost, you must make sure that there are online sharing tools available for your team and that everyone knows how to use them. There should be folders and spreadsheets that can be used to assign projects, keep track of progress, and submit assignments when completed. Ideally, there should also be some way for remote team members to communicate quickly and easily and collaborate on projects when needed.

2. Set Reasonable Expectations

Expectations for workload should be set immediately and altered as needed when employees get more proficient at tasks. Some tasks will invariably take longer than expected, while others will take less time than expected, so it is best to err on the side of caution and give employees a little more time than expected. Employees will burn out or become discontent if too much is continually assigned and they find themselves working long hours in front of the computer.

3. Nurture Bonds between Team Members

While remote work is rewarding because of the time and location flexibility, it can be challenging because of the lack of social stimulation. Encouraging bonds between employees and working to nurture those bonds can help to keep some degree of socialization and company comradery in play in spite of the distance, which can be conducive to productivity. You may schedule a few face-to-face events each year or simply encourage team discussions that aren’t all about work.

4. Remember and Respect Time Zone Differences

If employees are operating in different time zones, it is important to be respectful of those time zone differences. While you can send group emails and other electronic communications out at any time, make sure to consider the time zone differences when setting deadlines. Try to give employees a few days to work on all assignments so that they are able to optimize their own schedules and give you their best effort.

5. Check In Regularly

There is some satisfaction in autonomy, but many employees will not speak up if they are feeling overwhelmed, which may lead to employee burnout or even missed deadlines. Checking in a few times each week may help to combat this issue. Checking in at the beginning of each week and then again in the middle of the week will allow you to gauge an employee’s performance and make alterations as needed to keep employees content while getting the maximum amount of work accomplished.

6. Provide Development Opportunities

Employees that feel that they are being provided with every opportunity to grow and prosper will gladly work hard for you. Providing employees with learning and development opportunities will help to keep your team strong and sharp. Even if you simply send videos that they can learn from, they will appreciate the brain food and their work will show it.