With working from home set to be around into the future, it really is worth taking steps now to allow for it. It can be fairly simple too. Here are three ideas that should make things a lot easier if you have employees who work remotely or expect to in the near future.
1. Help them feel like they are part of the team
The first thing to remember is that remote staff feel like they are cut off from the rest of the business. They don't get to interact with their colleagues and might feel like there is no point bothering. This can quickly lead to them shirking responsibilities and losing motivation. Why bother if there is no one who will notice if they slack off?
Things like helpful chat rooms and internal social media can be a great way to get around this problem. Just set up some channels for your remote staff and let them interact with the office staff. This will not only keep them motivated and on task, but also help build good working relationships.
2. Communicate effectively
It is obvious that managing remote staff will mean a lot more communication. It can be hard to keep an eye on someone who is working from home as you might never know if they are actually doing what they should be. This can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings and conflicts.
Make sure that there are management systems in place to make sure that you can monitor who is doing what and when. Instant messaging or other chat-based systems should be fine for most employees, but if there are any team leaders these could even be rolled out across the business if you wanted to. The next step will be to get everyone together on a regular basis so that they get their updates in person and can ask questions. This will help to keep them on task and on schedule.
3. Track their work so they get feedback
It might seem like the world is your oyster when it comes to tracking what your remote employees are up to, but don't just go ahead and watch them without providing feedback. It can be easy for remote workers to forget that they are wasting their time if there is no one there to tell them when they do something wrong or well.
Talking about what has been done and any ideas for the future will keep everyone on task and give people a chance to get involved in decision making. Even just having regular (perhaps weekly) meetings with each employee could be a big help. This will also give you a chance to see what is going on for yourself, which can be incredibly helpful when trying to get to grips with what managing remote staff entails.
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