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Millions of Americans wake up each workday, get ready for work, enjoy breakfast and coffee, and start working without ever leaving their homes. This is the result of a paradigm shift in today’s workplace. In years past, working from home seemed unrealistic across many industries. Today that is not the case. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that 29% of employees do some or all of their work at home. In addition, business analysts predict that the number of remote workers will continue to increase.
Flexjobs, a leading job search website specializing in freelance, remote, and part-time jobs, predicts that one-third of employees will work remotely in the next ten years. If your small business has remote workers, you must maximize their productivity and efficiency. It starts by providing them with the right tools, technology, and support. Failure to do this can damage your bottom line and result in poor employee morale. This Balboa Capital blog post has tips on how to help your remote workers succeed.
Provide adequate training.
When you hire remote workers, they will undoubtedly need the training to strengthen their skills and learn how to properly utilize your small business’s systems and technologies. If they don’t receive the proper training, they will face problems working in their home offices. In addition, even the most skilled remote employees can lag if they do not fully understand your company’s processes and protocols or cannot get swift responses to their requests for assistance.
Remember, your remote workers are all alone, so they do not have the luxury of walking over to the accounting, IT, or sales departments when they have questions or need to address problems.
Keep your remote workers connected.
Your remote employees will not be able to meet with their colleagues to chat about sports, fashion, or the latest Netflix series. They will miss out on this social interaction, making them feel isolated and out of the loop. Fortunately, there are ways to keep them connected with your business and team members, even though they are miles away or in a different time zone.
Have your information technology (IT) team build an intranet that is only accessible to your employees and keep it updated with news, videos, and photographs. Your intranet can also be equipped with software that lets your remote employees collaborate on projects, send instant messages to groups and individuals, and easily share important files and documents.
In addition, you need to hold your remote workers accountable. Set realistic expectations for them, and monitor their performance. If any of your employees begin showing sub-par results or decreased productivity, promptly bring this to their attention. It is not uncommon for remote employees to take advantage of the situation and cut corners.
Have calls and virtual meetings.
Project management software and emails are non-verbal, making them less personal than voice or video communication. Moreover, non-verbal communication can often result in misunderstandings between employees if the information provided is not thorough or has a tone that leaves the message unclear. To eliminate confusion and keep everyone on the same page, set aside time for conference calls and virtual meet-ups.
This allows your remote and on-site employees to talk to each other, recommend ideas, and discuss business-related topics more personally. In addition, several software providers offer affordable cloud-based video conferencing services, and you can even record your meetings in various video formats if needed. Finally, you can schedule appointments once or twice a month when convenient for all your employees.
Have fun-filled events.
Having remote employees is suitable for your business’s bottom line because you save money on office rent, furniture, electricity, and parking, to name a few. That means you should have sufficient capital to fly them out to your headquarters once a year or whenever needed. In addition, in-person meetings allow your employees to put names to faces and bond with each other in the workplace.
If you have your remote employees visit your office, consider having a team outing or fun-filled event. Games and team-building activities are fun for employees; they allow everyone to relax, be creative, and work towards a common goal.
Recognize the achievements of your remote workers.
One of the best things you can do for your employees is to give them kudos. Telling them that you appreciate their efforts and contributions goes a long way. It makes your employees happy, creates a positive work environment, and can reduce employee turnover. Recognize your employees who stand above the rest, including those who work remotely.
Working from home can cause some employees, even those who are overperforming, to feel like they are not an integral part of your small business’s success. So, reach out to them via telephone or email to give them positive feedback.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.