In today’s global economy there’s massive big growth in remote working. A recent BBC survey stated that 24% of employees in the US are working from home, at least, part-time, while 13.9% of employees in the UK are home workers.
Companies are trying to implement flexible work arrangements to help their employees with a better work-life balance to consequently improve their productivity.
Remote working benefits employees as well as saves them a significant amount of money each year on commuting costs and, of course, gives them the flexibility to work on their own terms (most of the time).
However, this is a challenge to traditional management styles; it is difficult to learn how to manage remote workers when nobody really taught you how to do that. So, how can you make sure remote workers are motivated and efficient in their work when you don’t see them every day?
1. Video Conferences
Since it is a bit difficult to get real face to face action regularly, you need to find alternative methods to keep that interactive communication going as if they were in-house. There are several services which allow you to have free audiovisual conversations such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Sqwiggle. With these options, it is easy to switch to video conferences whenever you can and keep that connection going. You can talk about certain challenges a remote worker may face or listen to their tone of voice and watch their facial expressions; real clues that will help you fix any arising issues your remote employees may have.
2. Automatic Activity Tracking
Many traditional management styles rely on self-reported data to measure a person’s effectiveness. However, this may be a problem for modern employees who are used to having gadgets tell them how much or what they did all day, without having to worry about it.
To ensure accurate results, the best thing to do is find an application or software that detects your work and tracks the time spent on specific tasks automatically. A few of these applications are TimeCamp and Outlook- there’s a little feature that helps with tracking your time while working.
3. Set Goals
One of the biggest dangers of inefficient workers, whether they are remotely working or in-house is the absence of milestones or goals to be achieved by a specific date in the future. Without set deadlines, even the most productive workers fail to deliver projects or tasks on time and this can be a big issue for teams who are co-dependent.
You can create daily, monthly or quarterly goals for remote employees and use management software such as Pivotal Tracker or Teamwork or even have a shared Google Calendar with visible deadlines, responsibilities or milestones to reach for the entire team.
4. Face-to-Face Interactions
I know we talked about video conferences and their effectiveness, nevertheless, nothing beats a real face to face communication. Apart from the funny reactions or the usual “ you look so different in person” it is important to build a strong bond by working closely with your team for a couple of days rather than working remotely on a task for a couple of months.
This may be pricey for the company, but the high ROI makes it worth it. It is a unique opportunity to have long discussions about the vision and culture of the team or company that would otherwise be difficult to achieve from around the world.
Would you work are a remote employee or do you think this could negatively affect your productivity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.