Remote working is an ongoing, fundamental aspect of many organisations – and in this current climate, one that is here to stay. Since 2005, remote working has increased by 173% due to employees demanding greater work/life balance and employers being able to utilise better productivity tools such as Microsoft Teams to manage remote workers. A study by Global Workplace Analytics found that 86% of people believe they are more productive in their home office, it’s time for employers to embrace remote working. Here are a few ways to make it work for your business.
1. Set expectations early on
If remote working is relatively new to your business or you are thinking of implementing it, it’s crucial that expectations are set early on so employees know exactly what to expect. Employees should know when they should be available, what the preferred method of communication is, how quickly they should respond to emails and how often they should check in to provide updates on projects they are managing.
2. Keep an eye on progress
By its very nature, remote working has less structure than onsite work, so it’s important to lay out some ground rules. Organise a daily or weekly plan to outline the work expectations of each team member and the time frames that the work is expected by. If your team don’t have cloud time-tracking software to log their working hours, ask them to send through time reports detailing where the progress of each of their tasks is up to. However, don’t go too hard on your employees – trust is fundamental to productivity.
Communication is key in any business, but it needs to be paid extra attention with a scattered workforce. Without the luxury of being able to shout a question across the room to a colleague, miscommunication can be easy and getting a quick answer isn’t always possible, but it’s important to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Phone and video messaging services such as Skype are your friend here, as they’re the most efficient way to get an immediate response and to eradicate the risk of emails being misconstrued. However, this does make it harder to keep the wider team in the loop, so consider sending a follow-up email after each phone call outlining what was discussed and agreed.
4. Schedule regular meetings
Don’t leave remote workers to figure everything out alone. It’s important that daily meetings take place over Skype, Microsoft Teams or Zoom to ensure employees are on track, can clear up miscommunications, can share their ideas and can regularly provide updates on any upcoming or completed projects.
5. Implement appropriate technology
Having the right technology in place can make a huge difference to keeping your team connected. Our mobile Time and Attendance software means you can access the system from wherever you are, allowing you to log your hours and easily keep track of any changes or issues as they arise. A file sharing system and a team calendar will also make sure that your employees know exactly what is going on and when.
6. Be approachable
It’s vital when it comes to remote working that your employees know there is an “open door” policy. Often employees will feel like they are disturbing their line manager or colleagues when it comes to sending an instant message or email to ask a question. However, by implementing an “open door” policy and agreeing what forms of communication are most appropriate, this can establish greater levels of communication and ensure employees are more productive.
7. Plan inclusive team activities
Come up with different ways to engage with your team using fun competitions, social media, and videos. Pick a different topic every week and ask your team to post their pets, home office set up, or new recipes they’re trying. Working from home can get lonely, and it helps having some planned activities that will promote engagement with a dose of fun.
Hopefully this article will help your business manage remote working more effectively. If you want to learn more about our industry-leading Workforce Management solutions and how they can help your business with remote working, get in touch today.