It’s no secret that long distance relationships are hard. Many long-distance relationships certainly succeed, but they require careful navigation from the people involved to steer through challenges brought on by geography. More often than not, it’s all a matter of choosing the right partner, in love and in business.
If you’ve ever managed a remote employee or an entire virtual team before, you know how hard it can be to keep everyone on track, I’ve outlined some of the common values the best employees have in hope that it can serve as a guide when assembling your own group.
In no particular order, here are the characteristics that I most appreciate from my virtual partner:
1. “He talks to me every day.”
Find people that are able and willing to communicate with you often. Set expectations early in the relationship and don’t tolerate someone going missing without warning. Your business depends on these people. If they don’t care enough to send you a simple email before leaving for 3 days, then they don’t belong in your business. Obviously, you also want someone who can articulate clearly and responds in a timely manner. Other less obvious qualities include being proactive about work reporting and asking clarifying questions.
2. “He knows what he’s doing.”
Technical skills can make a big difference in a great virtual employee as opposed to a mediocre one. It’s been my decision in my own personal career to only work with A-players. I refuse to deal with someone that can’t get the job done the right way, right away. I’ve found that it’s much cheaper and faster to hire people that have the right skills instead of trying to get “great value” and having to settle for second-rate output.
3. “I can always count on him.”
You need a remote employee who takes responsibility for his own actions, who cares about the end result, and does what he says he’s going to do. If you have an employee who’s accountable, it means you can take his word as truth. That’s what we all want as virtual managers but rarely get because it’s too easy for employees to skip out on their word, and it’s too hard to reign them in from a distance.