Remote Workers and Self-Employed: 4 Tips on How to Manage Your Boss and Your Clients for Improved Productivity

Tips on communicating and coordinating with your boss (for remote workers) and clients (for free-lancers and self-employed) for improved productivity.

A recent article in Newsday, Small Business: Managing Remote Workers about how to manage remote workers gave me some ideas on how to turn that advice 180 degrees into how to manage your boss and/or your clients.

“Communication flow is critical,” says Jason Aptekar, chief executive of Westbury-based Mithril Technology, a business and technology consulting service.

Have clear expectations with your boss and team members –  for your responsibilities,  availability and performance as a remote worker. These should be the same or similar as for on-site workers.

When working directly with clients define the scope of the project, your responsibilities, their responsibilities, “deliverables”, your availability and project deadline.


close-up photo of CALL button

Calling on the telephone is second only to being there for work collaboration and client contact.

Instead of just emailing, pick up the phone and call:

  1. Voice communication is second only in personal connection to being there. You get a sense of the person you are interacting with. With a little attention you can pick up on nuances of words and tone of voice that give you invaluable clues to how your boss or client is responding to you, your ideas, the project or the situation.
  2. A phone call can solve in one minute what multiple emails can only approximate. It gives you opportunity for a real dialogue and an exchange of ideas.
  3. Focused conference calls are essential when productively collaborating and coordinating with several people. Click here for tips on more efficient conference calls. 
  4. Skype is even better. You can prove you don’t work in your jammies. Click here to learn about Skype for business.  Click here to read about video conferencing bloopers.

If your boss doesn’t suggest time for weekly telephone check-ins, you can initiate it.

Send a weekly report on what you have done to date, what needs to be done, and what you have not done and what is still to be done to complete the project.

Visit the corporate or organization office regularly for face-to-face contact: weekly, monthly or quarterly, depending on your role on the team and the distance involved.

You can also use these tips if you have your own vendors for aspects of your business.

The bonus: you are less likely to become invisible as a remote worker.

For ideas on how to make the set-up of your home office more productive check out my book: The Smarter Home Office: 8 Simple Steps to Increase Your Income, Inspiration and Productivity. [link]

photo by Leonard Russell