The expectations of virtual employees are the same as that of any employee working in the employer's onshore office. Your offshore resources working from India have to be motivated to perform the task given to them. They work as your own employee, and therefore, it is the responsibility of the onshore manager to make sure that the remotely working resource does not feel neglected. To derive the desired results from your virtual employee, you have to motivate them, take care of their needs, and make them work according to the work culture of your company. The virtual employee is not physically present for you to have frequent face-to-face formal and informal chats. Therefore, you should look to partner with an outsourcing vendor who can provide you with excellent communication facilities like video conferencing, Skype, instant messenger etc to overcome the time zone and geographical distance divide.
Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with a remote employee who is sitting half-way across the globe and in a different time zone from you.
Motivation is the most important attribute behind the success of any project. Every employee in your team should feel the urge to accomplish the task given to them. For this, the manager has to lead from the front. While your onshore employees get motivated by seeing your enthusiasm for a particular task, it is not the case with a virtual employee. Your offshore resource expect you to update them on the latest developments in the project. They expect that their onshore manager would make them a part of the decision making process wherever relevant. All such things infuse a sense of belonging in the remotely working employee and he starts taking ownership of the task given to him. However, to elicit the desired enthusiasm in the virtual employee, the distant manager has to take the initiative. The onshore manager should make it a point that he has regular video conferences with the virtual employee and exchanges information on the project. An occasional phone call to the offshore employee can work wonders to boost his confidence in the onshore management.
Communication with your remote employee is the key to the success of an outsourced project. The remotely working resource also wants to interact with his fellow workers and managers. The onus to establish an effective communication channel between the virtual employee and his peer group is on the the onshore manager. The virtual employee can be made a part of meetings and group discussions via video conference wherever relevant. This communication further boosts the enthusiasm of the virtual employee and he feels reassured that he is very much a part of the client's team. Every human being likes attention, and your resource working from India is no exception. It is always a good idea to make him feel important. There is no harm in asking a couple of personal questions on a work-related phone call with your virtual resource. By doing so, you not only make him feel valued, but you also establish a strong communication bond with him. The onshore manager should give regular feedback to the remote employee about the work submitted. Make use of the latest online collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Skype chats and e-mail etc for that. Create a routine so that the employee is prepared for your call or chat and is present on their seat when you call. Set aside a day each week or whatever time interval suits you. Provide any work-related online training if needed.
Your virtual employee expects to be recognized for any initiative that they take. It makes good business sense to recognize any extra effort made by your remotely working resource. For an employee working in the same office, a pat on the back serves the purpose of appreciation. A telephone call to your virtual resource, especially to acknowledge a new idea or a task well executed and on time is an equally potent appreciation tool. At times, monetary benefits provided to the virtual employee also serve as a good recognition tool.
Your virtual employee is as valuable a resource as your own onshore employees, and you just have to express this to him.