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5 steps to becoming a better virtual employee – An Employer’s perspective

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virtual employeehubstaff logoFrom an employer standpoint, there a certain fundamental items that we need our employees to do in order for us to be fully satisfied with the work that a team member is producing. The first thing that the employee needs to understand is that we WANT to be happy. We WANT you to be successful. If you are successful, in general, that success translates well for our business.

The question remains though, what creates that success, what can you do as an employee to ensure that your employer is happy and your relationship with them lasts for a long time? Well, that’s what this article is all about. There are just a few things to focus on from a high level, and I’ll also be giving you a few really specific items that will make you really stand out to your employer.

Set a regular schedule and get up front agreements in place

Do you know when your employer is expecting you to be online? Every day? Specific times? When are they expecting to hear from you, and when you communicate with them, what format do they like to receive updates in? Find these items out, and you’ll be well on your way to pleasing your employer and making a great impression. Many employers are not the best at communicating these items as you start working with them, so by asking them, you are showing that you are organized.

Up-front agreements are basically making sure that each party clearly understands what the other wants. The more details that you can agree on up front the higher the chances of your mutual success are.

Ask clarifying questions

Chances are you are working with an entrepreneur that has between 2 and 15 employees. They have a ton going on, and one of the faults of entrepreneurs in general is not giving enough details. We like to say things like “just do it this way” or “just get it done”.

What you should do at this point, is try to extract as much info from your manager as possible. What colors are they looking for? Can they send you some examples of others who are already doing what they want? The goal is to understand exactly what they are looking for, so that you can produce a product that will be right the first time. This will impress your employer. You don’t want to waste time or budget creating something that they won’t be happy with.

Communicate Often

This is as simple as letting your employer know what you’re doing, when you are doing it. Nothing signals trouble like an employer constantly having to follow up and ask about what projects are next to work on, and when they will commence. If you want to really impress your employer just keep track of your daily activities and just send them an email of what was worked on that day.

Let them know at a high level what projects you’ve been working on, how long they are taking and just in general your thoughts on how those projects are going. Proactively answer questions like how much longer you anticipate a project taking, and feed them screenshots of the progress. Your employer is spending money on these projects, and they want to know how they are going. In addition, the more you communicate the more your employer will know that you are on their projects.

Focus on Quality

Everything on the web is moving towards quality. Web designs, content, products, software, and just about everything else you can think of is going through a major change and it’s all towards quality. Consumers are less tolerant of bugs, and misspelling. Anything less than a quality product doesn’t cut it anymore (it did in 2004).

Spend some extra time if it takes extra time to create a quality product for your employer. They will value quality over the extra few minutes that you spend getting it right. If you write in poor english, don’t use spell check, or produce poor code, your relationship with the employer will most likely soon be ending. Anything less than great quality doesn’t cut it anymore. Be one of the few producers that gives your employer a quality product and they will be very happy with you.

Speak your mind when you can add value

An employer is hiring you mostly because of your experience. They want the job done of course, but defining the actual steps required for completing the job is sometimes the hard part. Example… I have no clue how to start making a logo. So I am hiring someone based on their experience creating other logos.

So don’t be shy about telling your manager what have you seen other clients have success with in the past. Go ahead and share – make it clear that, in the end, you’ll do the task however they want it done. But you have had good results doing it a certain way. Or you could do some research online and present a few different options for doing a certain task. These are all valuable actions that you can perform to stand out and show your employer that you are overall a good person and they are well on their way to finding a great employee. It shows the employer that you can add value to their business, and that you are someone that can think for themselves.

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profileDave Nevogt is the co-founder of Hubstaff.com which helps virtual teams communicate better through automatic time tracking and activity tracking. He’s been running online businesses since he was 23, and now manages a team of 30 remote employees. Connect with Hubstaff on Google+

Dave Nevogt

Co-Founder at Hubstaff
Dave Nevogt is the co-founder of Hubstaff and manages a team of 15+ contractors and developers on a daily basis.Dave has a deep understanding of what it takes to increase productivity and specializes in management of remote teams.You can get his free training on outsourcing and remote management.

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Dave Nevogt About Dave Nevogt

Dave Nevogt is the co-founder of Hubstaff and manages a team of 15+ contractors and developers on a daily basis. Dave has a deep understanding of what it takes to increase productivity and specializes in management of remote teams. You can get his free training on outsourcing and remote management.

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