How to Communicate with Remote Employees

Laptop computer with multi-person videoconferencePossibly one of the biggest workplace shifts of the past two decades has been the advent of the remote workforce.

Rising commercial real estate costs, the introduction of fast and reliable communication technology and globalization have resulted in a significant number of managers and employees who work miles – if not continents – apart.

Managing and communicating with a remote workforce offer any number of potential pitfalls, and many traditional managers must learn new skills to succeed in this new reality.

Recently, I read a good blog post on this topic by Mashable’s Josh Catone, “HOW TO: Better Communicate with Remote Start-up Employees”.  To the excellent points Catone makes in his post (documentation, availability, etc.), I would add two more:

  • Acknowledge and respond to emails as quickly as possible. If your employee has sent a question to you or raised an issue of concern to them, he/she is anxiously awaiting a response.  So even if you don’t have an answer right away, at bare minimum you should acknowledge that you received the note and will respond as soon as possible.
  • Let employees know in advance when you will be inaccessible. Managers who don’t make a point of being “off line” for periods of time for personal reasons run the risk of burning out very quickly. It’s OK to be out of touch while you attend your kid’s soccer game. Just let your team know that you won’t be available at that time and who to contact in case of emergency.

So what do you think about Catone’s list?  Any tips you’d add, based on your experience?


About Susan Rink

Susan C. Rink is president and owner of Rink Strategic Communications, LLC ( and a partner in Triple Play Consulting.
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