The latest HBR Management Tip of the day has good advice on helping your remote workers. This basically involves regular communication and monitoring. Here is an excerpt from the tip:
One of the challenges of managing people from afar is having a good sense of how they’re performing. Virtual workers may be more prone to loneliness and loss of motivation, which can result in compromised performance. Since you don’t usually get the opportunity to pick up visual cues or have impromptu conversations with remote employees, make an extra effort to see how they’re doing. Stay alert for signs of burnout by checking in regularly.
I've personally experienced the challenges that come with managing remote workers. In my experience these, remote workers suffer more frequently than your on-site team members from a few specific problems. These problems are :
Managers can also mistakenly underestimate the work being done by remote workers. I tell my remote workers to prevent this by sending a regular e-mail to their team at the beginning of each week that outlines what they will be working on for that week. This helps the remote worker show regular progress on tasks, opens the door for collaboration, and reminds the team of their contributions.