Is Your Team Ready to Telecommute: Three Things to Consider in 2018 + INFOGRAPHIC
The remote workforce in the United States is growing every year. After all, telecommuting saves both employers and employees thousands of dollars in commuting and office-related costs. If you’re considering hiring remote employees, or if you’re interested in the benefits of letting your current staff work from home, then take a moment to re-evaluate parts of your company's management style.
Do You Already Support Remote Work?
It’s estimated that per each telecommuting employee, a company stands to save about $11,000. And countless studies have shown that telecommuting employees are much more productive than their in-office counterparts.
But before breaking your lease and declaring that everyone should work from home, take a step back and look at your corporate culture and management style. Chances are good that your employees are already working remotely from time to time. Does your staff periodically work from home when a kid is sick, or they are traveling? Do you have a system of checks and balances for days when they don't make it in?
Even in the regular grind, lots of work-essential tasks are probably being done from home or during the commute. Your employees return calls, send emails, and update docs out of the office. When you factor how much work is already done remotely, you may be more comfortable with the idea of a remote workforce. Try it out with your current employees before hiring anybody out of town. Start by establishing some WFH days, Not only will it free up office space, but it’s an easy way to start the migration towards a remote work environment for your employees.
Is Your Staff Equipped to Work From Home?
There will be a little bit of trial and error involved with establishing work-from-home policies. Make sure that your employees are given the tools they need to buy-in to the program and succeed with incentives like computer monitors, supplies, or even a remote work allowance.
For you, investing in an employee's hardware or software (like computers, secure networks, etc) will help ease any security concerns and ensure company oversight into how employees are spending their remote time.
Beyond creating a productive work environment, you and your employees need to understand specific communication protocols. Luckily for the remote workforce, there are thousands of ways to share information over the web, but this can get convoluted and confusing for your team. Establish main communication channels used for getting in touch for meetings, ideas, and brainstorming sessions. Safeguard against communication glitches by creating protocols for employee interactions like who calls who for a meeting, specific times to meet, specific channels to use, etc. Most importantly, always solicit feedback from the team if you’re feeling any friction in the communication process.
How Will We Track Engagement and Productivity?
Building your remote workforce is going to be an exercise in trust, accountability, and efficiency. Luckily, today there are many different ways you can keep track of a remote worker’s activities, projects, and hours on the job. Establish regular (and separate) check-ins with the team as a whole, each team member and their supervisor, and between teams that need to coordinate.
Establish specific daily pulses via email or Slack that prompt employees to keep you informed of their day-to-day activities. Over time, allow for more flexible work hours in order to capitalize on when each employee is able to do their best work. Once trust and accountability measures are in place, you'll be able to focus on results, not time spent, and the benefits of the remote workforce will start to add up.