Nowadays the idea of flexible and remote working is on the increase as companies strive to compete on company benefits and promoting a better work-life balance. According to Strategy analytics, the amount of remote workers across the world will increase to 1.75 billion by 2020, which would make up 42% of the workforce.
There has been evidence, particularly from Scandinavian countries, that shorter work days and flexible or remote working can lead to an increase in productivity, happier and more enthusiastic workers and better staff retention. Fewer commuters also means less pollution, fuel usage and traffic congestion.
Besides the benefits, one of the reasons why remote working has increased in popularity is because of the availability of technology. Technology has made remote working much easier by providing simple, reliable ways to keep in contact with colleagues and manage workloads remotely.
Is it really that simple?
While the benefits are numerous, that doesn’t mean that there are no downsides to working from home.
One downside for workers could be increased expenses because household bills will be affected by an employee working from home all day rather than an office. There’s also the risk of losing that staff engagement and not being able to manage morale or productivity of your team.
So how do you manage a team of remote workers? Here are a few tips:
Make use of technology to communicate
Messaging apps like Slack are great for keeping a team of workers in regular contact with one another. Colleagues can send documents, message each other instantly and hold group chats anywhere they’re working.
If you’re missing that face-to-face contact, then video conferencing is for you. Make use of the likes of Skype for a more human touch to your employee communications. Holding a video conference may actually be quicker than waiting for various team members to reply via instant messaging.
Don’t rely on emails
People often have full inboxes as it is so try not to add to it any more than is necessary. It can be good to keep correspondence between the team to a dedicated app or program like instant messaging so that messages don’t get lost.
It’s also a better idea to use a group chat than sending out emails to groups of people and having them individually reply, because you can then see what everyone’s saying and have a clear record of the correspondence.
Have regular progress meetings
Whether your employees work from home at all times or only occasionally, it can be a good idea to meet face-to-face once in a while to catch up.
You can use these meetings to discuss how the remote working is impacting productivity and whether both employer and employee are happy with the arrangement and the progress.
Set clear expectations and rules
It’s easy to feel isolated as a remote employee, so it’s important to remind each worker how their work relates to the business as a whole.
Every remote worker should have a clear idea of what they’re expected to accomplish that day/week and how it relates to the work that the rest of the team is doing so that workers don’t feel too cut off.
It’s also important to make it clear whether the employee has responsibility over things like internet access and an increase in household bills or whether the company will help out with this.
How have you managed remote working in your company? What other tips would you add? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!
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About The Author
An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.