Remote work arrangements can actually help your company be more productive and increase sales, but only if you’re setting clear expectations and tracking the productivity of remote workers. Moving employees from in-house work to remote work can be intimidating at first, but once you fall into a routine, you’ll notice a change in the overall performance of those workers. Here’s how to make sure remote work arrangements help your company.
First and foremost, if you expect remote workers to be productive, you need to set very clear expectations. This means setting clear deadlines (that they acknowledge), setting expectations for work quality, and providing them with project-specific details.
Remember that it’s your responsibility to make sure your remote workers have the information they need to succeed, and expectations should always be clearly communicated for maximum effectiveness.
If you don’t make your expectations clear from the beginning, you’re going to have trouble down the road. Remote workers may miss deadlines, assume they only have to work x amount of hours per week, or were supposed to get paid a different amount than you’re giving them.
Take the time to have a conference with your remote workers once every couple of weeks to ensure you’re still on the same page and to update them on any changes. Web conferencing software or video chatting can help you reach remote workers without the cost of landlines.
You’ll want to know exactly how long your remote workers are spending on your projects since estimates are often inaccurate and can be seriously overexaggerated. Using a time tracking tool for your remote workers will help ensure accuracy in both their time logs and the amount you pay them for their work.
This isn’t about trusting employees to be honest about their time (though, unfortunately, some people just won’t be) but more about protecting your company from unwanted costs. There’s a reason that employees clock-in at the office; you need to know how long they’ve worked, and the same goes for remote workers. Use a time tracking app to keep everything organized and accurate.
Along with setting clear expectations, having good communication with your employees ensures that everyone is synced up and things are going according to schedule. Frequent communication is a must with remote workers since you’re not going to run into them at the office for a quick chat.
Email, conference calls, and video conferencing are all good ways to get ahold of your remote workers, but you can also use project management software. These tools usually include some kind of chat room where everyone can easily share information and progress reports/completed projects. This makes keeping updated with your remote workers incredibly simple!
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, so don’t forget about your remote workers! It can be easy to list them as a second thought if you’re used to seeing them in the office, but you want to be sure to keep up with them and include them as much as possible; otherwise, they could feel underappreciated.
Test the Waters
If you’re not sure about remote work arrangements for your workplace, start off by allowing just a few employees to try it out. These should be trusted individuals with a good track record of performance and trustworthiness. Start them off with a few weeks’ worth of work, and track their performance throughout the process.
Once you’ve gotten past the initial trial period, and you find that remote work is actually increasing productivity, you can opt to include more team members in the process. If you could successfully make a third of your workforce remote employees, you’ll reduce your overhead costs by almost 40%.
Without the need for cubicles, extra office space, electricity for their computers, and other office costs, you’re saving a lot of money!
Check the Numbers
Be sure to stay on top of things when you’re working with remote employees; particularly the hours they’re working and how much you’re paying them. Keep track of everything to get a clear picture of whether or not the technique is helping your company. You might find that your team just isn’t ready to embrace remote work, and need further training to maximize their discipline.
If the numbers agree with remote work, then, by all means, continue! The more employees you can transition to remote work, the more flexible, productive, and efficient your business will be overall.
Remote work arrangements can help or hurt your company, depending on the team members and your own managerial diligence. Keep track of employees’ time with time tracking apps, and be sure your expectations are clearly set forth and communication is a priority. Use the right tools to make remote work your best asset!