One of the key questions that a virtual business employer receives from clients, or those thinking of starting their own virtual business is, “How do you know your employees are getting anything done? I mean, you are paying them but, what are you getting in return?” The easy answer is ‘Outcomes and Results’, as noted in our blog post Managing a Changing Environment.

On the flip side, this article tackles some of the big questions asked by some of our virtual employees:

1. How do I know if I am doing a good job?
2. Is there more I could be doing? Am I just one software program away from being able to obtain more work?
3. What are other employees for the company doing and how do we all fit together?
4. How do I work collaboratively with other employees to share ideas?
5. What is the big picture for the company and how is my work a part of this?

The ability to answer your virtual employees’ questions helps them know where they stand in the big picture of your organization and can potentially help them accomplish many tasks with a little more ease.

Although much of a virtual employee’s work is done using technology, clear communication goes a long way, even in these days of remote ‘everything’. Whether through email, a phone call or an in-person meeting, virtual employees can accomplish a great deal by using all forms of communication and answers the questions above.

How do I know if I am doing a good job?
Employees should simply ask the question to their employer and be prepared for potential constructive criticism. Employers should be monitoring the progress of the employee’s deliverables and be ready to provide this feedback, whether positive or constructive. Consider the setting to provide this feedback. An in-person meeting may be warranted, as an email may not provide the sentiment and feeling behind such a conversation.

Is there more I could be doing? Am I just one software program away from being able to obtain more work?
Again, employees should ask the employer if there is any available work, followed up by asking what tools and experience are required to do this work. Employers should check in with their employees to see if they have an interest in taking on other work and checking to see if there has been any change in their available tools to help you with your business.

What are other employees for the company doing and how do we all fit together?
Employers may want to consider planning opportunities for all employees to get to together to share work ideas and get to know who is playing what role in the business. Additionally, employers may want to create an employee list with contact emails and identification of who is working on what files, if it is secure to do so.

How do I work collaboratively with other employees to share ideas?
Following on the last point, employees may want to take advantage of opportunities to meet with others in the organization and share ideas with the entire team. Perhaps send an email to keep in contact and consider asking your colleagues if you have a question or need help, if your employer is ok with that.

What is the big picture for the company and how is my work a part of this?
Employees should have this discussion with their employer not just at the time of hire, but every once and a while to check in. The organization may have changed or new projects started and it is important for one to know where their efforts in an organization have an impact.

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg, making communication with and between employees integral in a virtual business.

So, if you’re part of the virtual business, remember, Just Ask!

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