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How to Manage Out of State Employees

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By Andrew Lu on September 11, 2012 9:44 AM

A great thing about technology is that it allows even the smallest companies to have a national presence. However, you should be prepared for dealing with some of the unique challenges of managing out-of-state employees.

When you first started your company, you and your small group of employees may have developed a tight team atmosphere. It can be hard to replicate this same team feeling with employees you rarely ever see.

Still, if you are prepared for managing out-of-state employees, you can run a successful business with employees working remotely without missing a beat. Here are five tips that can help you, as compiled by CBS:

  1. Hire the Right People. As you may know, all employees are not created equal. Some employees thrive on being part of an intimate team with constant feedback, while others work better independently. Given the realities of remote employees, you will probably want to hire an employee with a strong independent streak, as you probably will not be available every time the employee has a question or needs affirmation.
  2. Don't Overuse Technology. You may be tempted to buy all the latest technological gadgets to manage your out-of-state employees. But before you invest in technology, make sure you need it. Too many companies have wasted money on technology they never use, or worse, forced the use of incompatible and unnecessary technology simply because they had it.
  3. Communicate Directly. Many things can get lost in electronic communication. Subtleties like sarcasm and even straightforward humor can be misinterpreted without body language. As a result, your "funny" emails may be creating a paper trail for potential harassment claims.
  4. Be Flexible. If your personal style is to be on top of everything and everyone, you may want to think twice about hiring out-of-state employees. It's impossible to see everything they are doing, and to try to do so will only drive you crazy. If you hire the right people, you will trust them to the work.
  5. Learn the Relevant Laws. If you open a storefront in California, and you are located in Florida, you'll probably want to talk to a local California employment lawyer to learn the laws in that state. You may be surprised to learn some of the wage and hour laws applicable in other states.

Managing out-of-state employees can be a challenge, but if you build the right team, you can successfully manage a national business with only a few employees and an Internet connection.

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