Many many businesses have employees that “telework” or work remotely. The trend of working at home has grown over 100% since 2005. That’s an enormous change in business model over the last ten years.
Even though working from home is becoming more common, it can be difficult to manage employees working remotely. It’s impossible to swing by their desk or grab them for a face-to-face meeting with a client. However, remote employee management is possible and can even be made simple with these management strategies:
Be extremely clear about the job
When hiring employees to work remotely, you have to be extremely clear about all aspects required for the job. This isn’t just a paragraph job description that generally outlines the position to be filled. Provide a definitive list of exactly what will be required of the person and what qualifications they need to have before they apply.
Once the employee is hired – or even if the employee is going from in-office to remote – create a detailed summary of all tasks necessary to do the job remotely. This should include logins to remote software, all necessary contact information, how to attend meetings, what progress they need to report, and everything else that has to do with accomplishing their job from home. Don’t send an employee to work from home and expect him or her to just “figure it out.”
Seeing is important
Email, chat apps and more are all invaluable tools to understanding how a project is going. However, remember that we take cues from both verbal and nonverbal communication. So, set up a once-weekly video call to check in on your remote team, find out the bugs, and see who needs to touch base to get things fixed up. You may discover that two team members are hostile to each other or something you thought was a huge problem is already solved. Talking face-to-face can often communicate more than a chat window.
Give employees space to interact
The office dynamic is lost when an employee works remotely – and he or she can get a little stir crazy or feel as if they have no one with whom they can talk through work issues. Set up the ability for team members to chat privately with each other as well as in a group setting. This allows them to work through minor bugs without you – the management – getting involved.
Remember that different people are in different timezones
There are inevitably going to be a few slip ups when you or your assistant forgets that one person is in Hawaii while another is located in England. Just try your best to remember everyone’s location and time zones. Some apps can help you out with this, like Slack’s “Team Time Zone” feature and the World Clock Meeting Planner.
Keep things organized
Have a system that everyone can use. This may mean that new employees or employees new to working remotely need additional training on the various apps or programs that are required to keeping everyone on the same page. Be sure to keep each employee trained up on your company’s organizational system and correct them (privately) if they make a mistake.
Working remotely is a new concept for many businesses, but statistics show that teleworkers spend 9.5% more of their time working than those working in the office. All that is really required are dedicated workers, great leadership, and an organizational system that works for everyone.
Are you looking to restructure your business or organize to increase efficiency? Contact us today. We are here to provide you with the organizational consulting and leadership coaching you need to make working remotely a success for your business.