We’re moving towards a world where no one ever leaves their house. Including to go to work. More and more people are working remotely which is a better use of resources for everyone involved.
But that doesn’t mean the switch to remote workers is going to be smooth. A lot of managers are afraid of the remote worker thing because they doubt people will get things done.
If you’re one of those bosses, know that you’re not alone. But also know that the concern is generally unfounded and that you should have faith in your employees.
You can still manage them without walking into their office and looking over their shoulder. It just means re-assessing what you consider management.
Don’t know what we mean? Read the guide below.
1. Be Clear About Hours
Part of the appeal of working from home is that it saves people time. They don’t have to get up and get ready for a long commute. They can sleep in and still “be” at work on time.
But what if they need to go remote because they have issues with classic work hours? You have to set boundaries for what at home hours look like.
For example, if someone starts late, they need to stay working late. Or the next day they start early.
But how do you track that they’re working those hours? There’s software you can use and again–you need to trust your employees.
2. Move Away from Time and Towards Productivity
The “hours” thing is a big drawback for a lot of bosses moving towards remote workers. But did you know the average worker is only productive for three out of the eight hours they show up for every day?
That’s a pretty bad ratio. But how do we solve that? Especially in salaried jobs?
We need to move towards seeing productivity as a better judge of work than the hours put in. For example–if someone is working on a complex report, how many hours should that take?
Maybe it would take a whole day in-office but it took five hours at home. If they did everything for the day and the report is high quality, then their day can end at those five hours.
3. Don’t Go 100% Remote
A lot of businesses let their employees work from home a few days a week. This benefits everyone and makes sure the in-house team still gets to check in on remote employees.
You don’t realize how much access working in-house gives you to your employees until they’re not there–and vice versa. You can’t just pop your head in an office and ask a quick question–now it has to be an email.
By asking your team to come in a few times a week, you can still maintain your relationship and make sure you’re not losing effective communication.
4. Think About a Virtual Workspace
There’s a lot of buzz in the professional community about tools like Slack. It’s an online chatroom, of sorts, but it’s only for a specific workplace.
In the office, it can be used to ask quick questions, make announcements, and yes–chat with others. People find that it reduces the number of emails they send.
This is a good way to keep remote workers in the loop with what’s happening in the office. You can even attach documents and send private messages on the Slack interface.
There are other programs, but that’s the one we’re most familiar with.
5. Do Video Meetings
Meetings in general waste a lot of time. There are the hustle and bustle of getting everyone away from their desks, waiting to start the meeting, and work missed while in the session.
Moving to video meetings is better for everyone. In a video meeting, you can say things like “this point is for the accounting team” which tells others they can zone out for a bit.
They can get some work done until they hear you say something relevant to their team.
And obviously, remote workers can now attend that meeting–click to learn more.
There are plenty of meeting software programs where you can make yourself the main face of the meeting, but also host a chatroom for questions.
Make sure you give everyone equal access to that software. You don’t want anyone left out of a meeting because it only got installed on in-house computers.
6. Dedicate Time to Remote Workers
You know the concept of office hours? Like for a professor? Those are times people can come and ask them whatever they need to and they’ll always (okay almost always) be in their office at those times.
You can have the same thing for remote workers. Maybe your office hours for your remote team are 11-12. That way if someone needs to get ahold of you, they know you won’t be in a meeting and they’ll have a direct line.
Moving Forward and Working Remotely
A lot of the tips on this list involve changing how we’ve done things for a long time in the business industry. And change is hard work.
But change is also what makes businesses successful. Staying static never made anyone a profit.
We can’t promise that working remotely will work for your company. Or that it’ll work for all your employees. In fact, one may try it and figure out they can’t motivate themselves to work from home.
It’ll take some trial and error, but you’ll figure out the right mix for you.
Need more information about communication in a mixed workplace? Read this.