Working and doing business have long been upgraded from the normal office setting to home-based jobs and even having workers remotely from overseas. This is because of the advancements in technology. People are now able to work anywhere outside their physical headquarters. On the business side, it is also more beneficial for the employer as it would mean a reduced cost in overhead. Most small businesses nowadays choose to outsource their tasks to a remote workforce so they can continue focusing on the more important parts of the business.
So, how do you ensure that productivity and quality results are still achieved even with a remote workforce? It’s basically just like how you would handle personnel management in your headquarters. But, with people who are working remotely, it can be little more complicated.
As a global HR team, NNRoad can handle all the technical paperwork so you can focus on managing your remote workforce. They can take care of all the nitty-gritty details to ensure that you are able to manage your employees and monitor them with their tasks and jobs for the betterment of your whole company.
Here, we will share some insights on how you can effectively manage your personnel who are working away from you physically.
Before divulging deeper, let us try to know more about the remote workforce. A remote worker or a virtual employee includes a large bracket of categories ranging from the employees who work full-time from home for several days a week to those employees who work in a completely different geographical location from you. It could even cover a whole company or business that doesn’t have an actual physical office headquarters.
Throughout the years, virtual working has become very popular as it is more flexible and it gives the employees more options. Because of this, remote work became the primary way to get talented individuals to work for a company especially in today’s situation wherein a pool of available individuals, only a few are genuinely talented. Also, it cut a lot of costs and expenditures on the employer’s side as it allowed work to be done without the need for an office space.
An ongoing issue about remote working is the level of productivity it will create. A few studies showed that working from home or remotely is not so productive as there might be a lot of distractions when the employee is away from the physical office. Their work can be difficult to monitor. However, another study debated that people who work remotely took shorter breaks, worked longer hours, and were less likely to quit. This has been the main reason why most businesses say that offering the employees flexible options to work where they prefer to work is vital for employee retention.
For the remote workforce setup to run smoothly, you need to set rules for yourself and the administration of your company. This is to ensure that even if the employees are working in remote locations, productivity is still at par.
One issue that most companies face when they have remote workers is that most of these employees feel unmotivated because they are disconnected from the rest of the team. This is the first thing that you should look into when you have a remote workforce. There should be activities that will help promote a sense of community and camaraderie. This can be done through daily calls or short conversations on chat. It is important to let them know what’s going on with the projects so they feel like they are also present physically. It’s out of the way but your remote employees will appreciate the effort you put in.
It’s really easy to forget about the people who you don’t see physically every day and those that are just online. But, the easy access through the Internet makes no room for an excuse not to communicate with your remote workers. At times, you have to deal with various time zones but you will eventually find a way to organize your time. Make sure that as much as possible, you communicate with your workers on a daily basis. Having a task management system also helps in keeping up with the progress of tasks even if some of your workers are not physically with you. Talk and discuss tasks and projects with your remote workers just like how you would talk and discuss to your employees if you are in the same room.
In the light of constant communication, also make sure that you are available when your remote workers need you. This is important especially for the leadership. Maybe your team have some questions and need clarifications regarding a project that might need immediate attention. It’s easy for your remote workers to lose interest in their task if they don’t get feedback when they need to. Also, this can jeopardize the progress and productivity of the projects if it takes a long time to contact you. If it isn’t possible to be always available, make sure you specify this to your remote workers. Tell them which times you are available to talk to and tell them a way they can reach you so you can attend to their concerns as soon as possible.
Since monitoring work is quite more complicated if you have remote workers, you may have to adjust and manage your expectations. To do this, you want to create guidelines for monitoring these expectations. Some suggested methods are:
1) Log start and finish times for the day – A good tool for this is RescueTime
2) Attend required meetings
3) Including you in their copy when e-mailing about submitting work
It is also important to take note of the remote workers’ performance on a regular basis so you can establish the right expectations and goals. This is to ensure that your employees are happy and motivated in their respective roles.
Along with the required rules to manage remote employees, here are some more unspoken rules that help in maintaining rapport with them so work runs smoothly and with no problems.
The saying that goes “action speaks louder than words” is very accurate. More than half of human communication is non-verbal. When you talk with your remote workers, talk with video so you can see them and pick up non-verbal cues. This is how you can gauge their reaction to plan changes or their outlook for the day. This is also essential in developing a rapport with them as it feels more intimate when you can actually see the person you are talking to.
Since remote working does not give you and your remote employee all those physical moments in the office to catch up and collaborate with projects and other topics, you should set aside a reasonable time to talk with them and discuss issues.
Sometimes, it’s hard to convey your emotions when you are just using words. Thankfully, messaging apps are now equipped with loads of emoticons and gifs to help you deliver your message more clearly. There is a big difference in sending a witty and funny gif or meme about praising someone for a good job than just the simple and boring “good job” chat message. This will make your employees feel more appreciated and they’d conclude that you are approachable so they can come to you when they need to talk to you about some things.
Your remote workers are also just as normal employees. They have goals and aspirations in life as well. This is how one-on-one sessions are important. Let them share about what they want to achieve in their lives so you understand them and give them the proper treatment and benefits so you can help them achieve these goals. They will remember it and chances are, they will remain loyal to you and go out of their way to give exceedingly good results.
Don’t let you and your remote workers get used to seeing each other on screen. Organize an annual or bi-annual get together where you all take a break and go on a vacation so you can meet your remote workers face to face. But, more important than the fun and rest, you will also get to mingle with them and build strong rapport and connection. A few days of physical get together can overpower the months of trying to talk and gauge each other remotely.
We understand all these things that need to be done on the personnel management side of your business. This is why we’re ready to take some load off your back by doing the hefty paperwork for you so your attention is on focusing on all these rules and essentials of managing a remote workforce.