More than 40 percent of Americans spend at least a portion of their week working remotely, according to a 2017 Gallup poll. The ability to work remotely has become a deciding factor for many employees considering taking or leaving a job. A number of employers are embracing this benefit, with the majority of them reporting remote workers are more engaged and perform more efficiently. If you’re considering adding remote team members or you already have a few and want them to feel more engrained in the company, here’s how to make the process work.
Test It With Current Team Members
If you’re skeptical of the working from a living room couch gig, initiate a trial basis of remote work for your team members who have shown interest. Now’s a good time to mention, remote work isn’t for everyone. Some of your crew will perform better in an office environment with coworkers nearby and daily water cooler chat. A trial run will help you determine who can manage themselves from home (or the local coffee shop) and who is a better fit for the cubicle hub.
Set Clear Expectations
Working from home doesn’t mean there are no deadlines. Set clear expectations with your remote workers regarding how often you’ll communicate and when assignments are due. Ask the worker to explain when they’ll get the majority of their work finished – early riser, efficient at night, weekend warrior? – and if you expect some of their hours to be performed while the rest of the team is working so collaborations are possible – make that understood.
Find a communication routine that works for your team, goals, and the remote workers. Perhaps your remote members can dial into the morning meeting each day or you schedule a one-on-one call or video chat to set the week’s goals. No matter the type of communication, be consistent and make the remote crew feel they are a part of the team. When you and the team member build a communication routine you’re comfortable with, you’ll avoid the “checking in” emails and phone calls.
Utilize Collaboration Tools
While working remotely does allow you to attend conference calls in your PJs, it also takes away a meaningful part of the office – coworkers. It’s not only nice to catch up at the coffee pot, but it’s also much easier to poke your head into someone’s office to check on a project when everyone works in one place. Collaboration tools, like Asana, allow workers to stay engaged with one another. They can track the progress of a project, follow up on a to-do list, or communicate with the group through a quick message. Not sure where to start with collaborative tools? Check out our list.
Document Performance, Not Hours
If you don’t trust your remote workers to complete certain tasks, this type of employee is not for you. Document your remote team’s performance. Are workers engaged in the communication plan? Do they stay in touch with team members of projects? If the worker is surpassing your expectations on work assignments, stop worrying about the hours they invest. Your focus should be on the end result. (With that said, if the worker isn’t meeting expectations, it’s time to start documenting time worked or remove the remote option altogether).
Utilizing remote work for your company has the power to increase productivity as skilled remote workers will log time when they are most efficient, helping you bypass the Facebook scrollers and Amazon shoppers while on the clock.
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