Employee productivity is hard enough to encourage and manage when your employees work in the same office as you. Management of remote workers is a much greater challenge. While it’s a dream for many to work remotely from home, very few employees find they can pull it off. For those that can and do, managers need to ensure that they’re as productive as onsite employees.
Here are five tips on how you can better connect with and manage your remote workers, freelance or otherwise, to help ensure optimal productivity.
Employees that work offsite have to rely on their own discipline to get work done. Because of this, it will be hard for you to set or control their hours, which means you’ll have to trust them to get their work done. You should become aware of when they prefer to work, simply by talking with them, and be flexible with their schedules.
Working with remote workers is a two-way street, and while you should know your remote employee’s schedules, they should also know your schedule, and how you work. For example, if you answer emails in the morning and have meetings in the afternoons, be sure to let them know that you need to see any requests or questions from them in the morning, and that they should expect responses before lunch.
Communication is key
As in most businesses, communication is key to both a happy and productive workplace. As the manager, you need to ensure that an open line of communication exists with your remote employees. This could be as simple as a telephone number or VoIP account that’s always on (within reasonable hours of course), or an instant messaging platform. It’s important to ensure that your employees have the tools they need to complete their job.
Two-way feedback, both positive and negative, is an important part of the communication process. You need to provide regular feedback, even on small issues that would ordinarily be glossed over in physical interactions, and encourage your employees to do the same.
Remember: you’re the boss
Many bosses with remote employees find that the employee seems to run the show, and getting projects or tasks completed on time can be a bit tough. As the boss, you need to clearly explain what is expected of remote employees, why it’s expected, and the consequences of not meeting expectations. If there’s a problem it’s up to you to fix it.
Most importantly, if you work with strict deadlines, you need to ensure that remote employees are not only aware of the deadlines but are held accountable for them. If deadlines are missed, you may want to find another employee, remote or otherwise.
Provide a secure platform
While the majority of remote employees connect to the office from their home, there’s a chance that they may connect from other locations, like coffee shops or libraries. A large percentage of public Wi-Fi connections have little to no security, and the last thing you want is to have your data breached due to an unsecured connection.
This means you should provide remote employees with a secure way to connect to the office. Some solutions include virtual desktops or a secure laptop. Providing a secure connection isn’t enough. You need to ensure your systems can actually handle remote connections and that IT support is available for remote workers. An added benefit is that you can better monitor productivity, as the systems can be monitored using the same software which is is used for computers in the office.
Judge by the final product
Productivity is not easy to judge when you can’t physically see someone in their seat. For remote workers, the easiest way to monitor productivity is by the quality and consistency of the final product turned in compared to the time it took them to provide it. In reality, remote workers should complete tasks in about the same amount of time it takes employees who work onsite. The time and date of submission shouldn’t enter into decisions unless there are deadlines.
Employees that connect remotely can offer companies who employ them many benefits. If you’re interested in employing remote staff, we can help you find a solution that will work for both parties and ensure the highest levels of productivity all around.