Working Remotely in the 21st Century

For a long time, there was a lot of resistance to the idea of remote working. Employers feared that because they didn’t have a watchful eye on them, remote workers would be more likely to become unproductive. That the home environment is too distracting to get work done. These fears are legitimate. Yet, it’s been proven that remote workers can be just as if not more productive than in-office counterparts. If you’re running a business from home, you need to learn to trust remote workers. These are a few of the company policies you can start introducing to help with that.

Bridge the communication gap with tech

The reason that the numbers of remote workers have jumped up recently is obviously due to the internet. There’s a lot of tech that makes it easier to communicate with people from afar. No business can run well without proper communication, so make sure you’re using the right tools to do that. Gmail, paired with Google Hangouts, is one of the best tools to use. People can keep an eye on their emails while staying connected through social media to everyone else they need to contact. A video conference meeting every week helps you touch base with everyone at the same time, too. Use it to set the goals for the week, then the Hangouts chat to keep in touch with individuals.

Make results measurable

That fear that people might not be working to their best abilities at any moment is a powerful one. To get away from it, you need to make sure that work is quantifiable and trackable. There are software packages you and your staff can use to make it easier to track their productivity. A lot of them have spying features, however, which you might not necessarily have to use. Instead, consider how you make their tasks quantifiable. Set deadlines for them and make sure they address any problems with you as soon as they encounter them. You can make room for errors, but not for unproductive staff.

Ensure you have some real face-to-face time

Touching in via webcam on Google Hangouts is a great way to have a face-to-face with your team. But it’s not enough. The best businesses don’t run from a network of connected people handling workloads. They are made great by the fact that the people involved are a team. To make your people a team, you should arrange real life face-to-face meetings. For example, consider hosting a conference twice every year. It helps people establish a rapport and be engaged in helping shape the business’s future. Remote workers might be spaced out over a wide geographical area, of course. But you can use services that can help with travel arrangements for your business. Meaning it’s a lot less effort for you and your team to meet up.

Educate them on working from home

If you’re worried about productivity, then you need to remember that it can be rooted not in the individual, but in their work environment. A lot of people have never done remote working before or haven’t quite gotten good at it yet. It’s a good idea to create a little guidebook of tips for working from home for them. It can include tips like ensuring they’re not interrupted or in a place they can be easily distracted. Make sure you stress the importance of a proper home office space, too. Not just to keep them engaged in work, but with proper office chairs and desks to take care of their health as well. You don’t know whether or not your attempts to educate your employees will work, but they will appreciate the effort at least.

Remind yourself that they’re real people with real needs

One of the biggest problems with remote workers isn’t down to the employees. It’s down to the employers. With that kind of distance, it’s easy to simplify your relationship with a worker strictly as cash-for-labour. Input and output. That’s dangerous thinking that can make you a less considerate boss and employees harder to retain. Which means you spend more money in the long run. Make sure you’re giving them the same consideration and benefit of the doubt as you would to employees you would share an office space with. As with everything else, regular communication and team building are essential steps to helping you do that.

Remote workers can be a huge benefit to your business. They cost less to keep and the flexibility makes a very attractive bonus to applicants. Just make sure you’re meeting the needs of the business and the person and you should be fine.