Getting the Most from a Remote Workforce – By Anna Tumadóttir

by Jenae Reid on December 22, 2017

When you hear the phrase “remote workforce” in the affiliate industry, do you think of accountability, transparency, and trust? You should. Because of its focus on performance-driven results, the affiliate marketing industry lends itself exceptionally well to a remote workforce.

I’ve managed remote workers at three different affiliate publishing companies since 2010. Before that, I was a remote employee myself. This article shares some of my tried and tested techniques for effectively managing a remote workforce.

Creating Accountability

As a manager of remote employees, one big challenge is monitoring the productivity of your workforce. How do you identify the members of your team who are highly productive or who need additional oversight?

I recommend argument-free tracking tools. An ideal solution integrates with the software your team uses internally (like a CRM or CMS) to record time spent actively working. The system should give workers the benefit of the doubt and allow short breaks, just like being in an office.

Additionally, this type of software will allow you to log individual tasks as they are completed, letting you easily identify your team members who are getting their work done quickly and well.

If you can’t layer this onto your existing platform, there are third-party tools that will do this (and much more). Toggl and Harvest are two that offer free trials and free basic plans.

Encouraging Transparency

For salaried workers, you don’t want to be beholden to a time tracker. Rather, you probably want to monitor projects and to create open lines of communication to address issues when they surface.

This can be accomplished by a handful of basic tactics, including:

  • Regular meetings
  • Articulating project ownership and clear expectations for outcomes
  • Fostering personal connections

I recommend video conferencing for colleagues who rarely get time in-person, and chat applications like Slack, where the use of a general channel for water-cooler banter is fun and fosters a spirit of community.

Remember, as a manager, you lead by example – you should participate too.

Building Trust Across Remote Teams

A recent study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, reported in Harvard Business Review in 2017, indicated that over half of remote workers believed that their colleagues wouldn’t fight for their priorities and would make changes to projects without warning them. They also reported an increased difficulty resolving conflicts. These morale problems lead to insecurities and inhibit your employees from being their best selves.

Whether you’re dealing with remote workers or in a traditional office environment, the most important thing you can do is focus on interpersonal relationships.

With human connection comes trust, better communication, and a greater team spirit. If you build trust between yourself and those you manage, your working environment will be happier, more collaborative, and more productive.



Anna Tumadóttir leads the operations group at Wickfire, a pay-for-performance search engine marketing provider.

This article appeared in issue 41 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2018.

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