Sage Advice on How to Keep Remote Workers Engaged and Productive
by Arina Smith Business Planning 19 June 2018
There are a lot of benefits to having employees who work from home. There are less overhead expenses, you have employees who are happy with the flexibility, and you also have the potential to hire qualified workers and not be limited only hiring eligible workers who live within driving distance.
However, with remote workers, it’s far more difficult to stay connected and keep track of effective time management and productivity.
If you want to keep your remote workers happy while still being sure that they’re meeting their potential when it comes to productivity, then read on.
Constant and Organized Communication :
Communication is number one when it comes to working remotely. Each team member must be willing to communicate effectively and in a timely manner when it comes to answering emails, phone calls and texts.
One way of improving communication is to have a regularly scheduled time to communicate that works for each person on the team. In addition, it’s beneficial to have an agreed-upon method of communicating.
Responsible remote employees should notify you if communication times need to be changed, either temporarily or permanently. And you should be flexible enough to understand that not everyone on the team needs to have the same schedule for communication.
However, it’s best if you’re all on the same page. You should have two methods of communication, one that covers individuals and one that is good for the group. For instance, you can have weekly or bi-weekly check-ins via email for individuals. And then have a group chat room for a once-a-month meeting for each department or subgroup.
Hire People With Remote Experience :
The last thing you want to do is have to hand-hold or micromanage people. If you hire people who already know what they’re doing from the get-go, you’ll be better off.
Also, it’s important to find people who have demonstrated responsibility while working from home. When an employee’s resume illustrates that remote working is something they’ve done successfully, this will take a load off your own shoulders.
It’s also a good idea to find people who are both good solo workers and team players. You need to trust that not only will they do their own job, but that they see the bigger picture. They’ll know that they’re part of a team and understand that their quality of work affects everyone’s productivity.
Use Remote Working Software :
Why reinvent the wheel? There’s some great software available that benefits businesses that have both a lot or a just a handful of employees who telecommute.
There’s software that helps with video conferencing, managing projects, collaborating, time management, and even software that handles budgets and invoicing so that everyone gets paid.
Finding good remote working tools can streamline your communication with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working to the same standards.
The software can also help with task management, so you know who’s working on which task and when it’s completed. It can ensure that everyone’s pulling their weight on group projects. This way there’s no need to be constantly checking up on people.
Set Deadlines :
People work best when there are deadlines set, rather than having things open-ended. Accountability and goal-setting actually make for a more productive team, while still allowing people to work at their own pace.
It’s understandable that your gut tells you to trust the people you hire, but most people appreciate having set deadlines, accomplishing goals, and checking off items on a to-do list in a timely manner.
Keep the Big Picture in Mind :
Details are important, but the final outcome is what it’s all about. If you trust that your employees each have unique skill sets and have different paths to accomplishing goals and task, you’ll be rewarded in the end.
You can offer advice along the way and make suggestions. But if you focus on the outcome, the autonomy you allow your employees to have will pay off.
If you encourage success it will boost productivity.
Clearly Define What Productivity Looks Like :
Your employees need to know what you mean when you say you want increased productivity. What does efficiency look like? What is your idea of good time management? What is proper workplace communication?
The answers to these questions are different for each employer. Don’t make your remote workers guess at what you want. Instead, have clearly defined expectations laid out and enforced.
However, encourage feedback, and be flexible to allow some of these definitions to change over time and as needed. You might be surprised that the expectation your employees have of themselves might be even greater than what you thought.
Keep People Connected :
Encourage communication between remote workers so they feel a part of a team. When people are connected they’re more likely to be motivated to be productive. They don’t want to let the team down or look bad.
Also, they have the opportunity to provide and receive encouragement from each other. It can get lonely out there, and knowing that there are others in the same boat helps boost morale.
Provide opportunities, not only for group chats about business but ways for the team to connect at a personal level and to get to know each other. Even if meeting in person isn’t possible, there are ways of meeting in the virtual world, through social media for instance.
Happy Remote Workers Leads to a Happy Business :
If you follow the above advice, you’ll have remote workers who are engaged, motivated, and connected.
They’ll be encouraged to do a good job, spend their time wisely and focus on getting tasks done and meeting goals. All of this will lead to happy employees.
And happy employees means employees who are invested in making sure your business succeeds, so they can stay employed at their optimal workplace.
All of this means a better business model with employees you can trust.
For more articles on creating a great work environment, check out our blog.
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