One of the secret benefits of using remote workers is that the work itself becomes the yardstick to judge someone's performance.
When you can't see someone all day long, the only thing you have to evaluate is the work. A lot of the petty evaluation stats just melt away. Criteria like "Was she here at 9?" or "Did she take too many breaks today?" or "Man, every time I walk by his desk he's got Facebook up" aren't even possible to tally.
Talk about a blessing in disguise.
What you're left with is "what did this person actually do today?" Not "when did they get in?" or "how late did they stay?" Instead it's all about the work produced. So instead of asking a remote worker "what did you do today?" you can now just say, "Show me what you did today." As a manager, you can directly evaluate the work--the thing you're paying this person for--and ignore all the stuff that doesn't actually matter.
The great thing about this is the clarity it introduces. When it's all about the work, it's clear who in the company is pulling their weight and who isn't.
Reprinted from the book Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. Copyright 2013 by 37Signals, LLC. Published by Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company. For more information, go to http://37signals.com/remote/