Giving employees the opportunity to work remotely, either partially or completely, offers major benefits to companies. Remote workers are often more productive, more satisfied with their jobs and more likely to stay with their companies longer. But to take advantage of remote work, you need to follow best practices.
Here are three keys to effectively managing a remote workforce.
One of the most appealing aspects of remote work from the employee’s perspective is the freedom gained. No one likes to work with someone constantly peeking over their shoulder or micromanaging their decisions, and remote work eliminates both possibilities.
However, it can be easy for business leaders to go too far in the opposite direction. You don’t want to be completely hands-off when managing remote workers, as that will invite employees to eventually slack off. While you want to grant remote workers a degree of freedom, you also need to ensure accountability.
That’s where assessments come in. Whatever your industry, you should make sure that you’re monitoring your employees’ performance, as Bdaily contributor Andy Nolan recently highlighted. You can’t just assume that remote workers will perform their responsibilities on time. By regularly assessing performance through metrics, you can let employees work at their own pace and without interference but still keep an eye on the quality of their performance.
2. Informal engagement
Nolan also emphasized the importance of informal engagement with remote workers. He noted that a sense of teamwork is critical for employees, but that this is difficult to achieve when workers are physically separated. Remote workers can potentially feel isolated, disconnected from their colleagues.
Formal business meetings and strategy sessions can help in this capacity, but Nolan asserted that informal engagement is just as important. Casual video conferences and other forms of interaction can make workers feel like they are all part of a single entity, even if they don’t see each other in person.
3. Grant trust, eventually
For remote work to be a viable option for a business, you need to be able to trust your employees. After all, these personnel must perform their jobs without you there to directly oversee their actions.
But it’s not only difficult, but often unwise to trust your employees until they have earned your confidence. When you first hire someone, you don’t really know him or her.
For this reason, it may be wise to have a probationary period. Perhaps new employees earn the right to work remotely after three months of quality performance in the office. This way, you’ll know who they are and whether you can be confident that they’ll do their jobs.
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