5 Tips for Setting Your Remote Workers Up for Success

Best Practices

There are two common traits that companies with remote workers share: happy employees and efficient teams. Those are two traits any company would be glad to have but whether you’re starting to implement a more flexible work program and allowing employees to have work from home days, or you happen to be managing some remote workers, it can be a difficult task to monitor their productivity when they’re not there in the office with you.

Giving employees the freedom to get their work done from home or a local cafe, though, can be just the boost they need to increase their project output. You can set your remote workers up for success with these 5 quick tips:

The two common traits companies with remote workers share: happy employees and efficient teams. Click To Tweet

 

1. Setting Specific Guidelines

Make sure your remote workers know what is expected of them while they’re virtually present. Giving them specific guidelines, like a maximum 30-minute response time frame to emails and communication efforts from superiors, can help open up the lines of communication in order to be sure everyone gets their questions answered and responses to their comments in a timely manner. Tell remote workers to give notice when stepping away from their computers so others don’t think they aren’t working or being responsive when they’re actually just warming up some soup really quick. Email isn’t really built for this so avoid it for remote comms if you can!

Tools to Support This: Yammer, Google Hangouts, Slack

 

2. Assess Productivity After an Allotted Amount of Time

When employees first get started working remotely, it can be tricky to ensure their productivity is at an optimal level. Although 86% of respondents in a nationwide survey said they hit maximum productivity when working alone, working remotely is not a right, but a privilege they should be able to earn and prove capable of handling. You can evaluate this by assessing the productivity employees seem to have after a certain amount of time being remote. If it happens to be for an employee that exclusively works away from the office, check their productivity and tasks completed after a two week trial period. If you’re starting to offer work from home days to in-office workers, check what progress they’ve made after the first two days of being off-site by having them send through a completed task list at the second end of the day.

Tools to Support This: Wrike, Basecamp, Bitrix24

86% of respondents in a nationwide survey said they hit maximum productivity when working alone. Click To Tweet

 

3. Don’t Jump the Gun

As you put a timeline on assessing your employee’s productivity, make sure not to jump the gun and assume right away they’re not being honest about the work they’re producing. Adjusting to a work from home routine as a worker is just as difficult as it is for an employer. Trust your employees and give them some freedom. Remote workers are 20% more productive when they get to tackle creative projects, so don’t micromanage or they will question why you even allowed them to have work from home days or be a remote worker in the first place.

Tools to support this: iRevu, 15Five, TinyPulse

Remote workers are 20% more productive when they get to tackle creative projects. Click To Tweet

 

4. Ensure They Have All Necessary Resources

If you want employees to be productive from their apartment, you need to make sure they have all necessary resources first. This could include reliable and preferably fast internet connection, monitors, conference call logins, and a location without distractions from their dogs. If employees don’t have the right tools then they certainly won’t be able to succeed. Companies that have remote workers see a savings of about $11,000 per worker by letting them work from home just half of the time. Consider this when thinking about whether or not you can provide these things for them. Maybe not the dog distraction free zone (they’ll have to figure that one out themselves) but think about what would make it easier for them to stay connected with other employees and productive while working away from the office, as well as what you could do for them with the money you’re saving.

Tools to support this: Google Drive, smartphone, tablet or laptop

 

5. Set Up Weekly Meetings

If you have employees that are working remotely every day, then it’s a good idea to set up weekly meetings via Skype or a conference call to chat about how the week is going and upcoming projects. Offering remote working options alone can help reduce employee turnover but you also want to make sure employees stay up to date. At first, you can even discuss what you, other coworkers, and the remote employee can do to make the situation more ideal. In addition to the weekly calls with you, invite them to log in for company meetings so they feel as if they’re still part of the team. Encourage your in-office employees to keep lines of communication open through tools like Skype and G-Chat.

Tools to support this: Skype, Uberconference, Speek

 

The advantages of offering remote work options go on forever, like lower stress levels, decreased overhead costs, and higher employee engagement. But all of that is worthless if you don’t set your remote workers up for success from the beginning. Be sure to give them the tools they need, guidelines of expectations, keep communication in mind and you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of having happy and productivity remote workers!

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