Studies show that working remotely increases job satisfaction among employees in countless industries. Remote employees have greater freedom and a better work-life balance, and they do not need to spend time driving to and from the office. For small businesses, allowing employees to work remotely offers several key benefits. For starters, it gives business owners access to a wider range of talent because there are no geographical barriers to deal with. In addition, working remotely lowers office overhead costs, increases productivity, and allows for real-time collaboration via telephone, chat, text, or instant messaging.
In the past decade, there has been a triple-digit increase in the number of remote workers in the United States, and there are no signs of this slowing down. If your small business has remote workers, you need to justify that they are benefiting you from an economic standpoint. If they are not pulling their weight in terms of productivity, you are wasting your company’s time, money, and resources. This Balboa Capital blog post features tips on how to hold your remote workers accountable.
Be wary of flexibility.
Just imagine life as a remote worker. You wake up a little bit late each day because you do not need to commute to the office. You make your breakfast, brew a pot of coffee, and sit on your couch with your laptop to check emails, read the news, and revisit your daily to-do list. Once you are done with your breakfast, you make your way to your home office and take a seat at a nice desk, perhaps one with a window view, and begin your eight-hour workday without any interruptions.
Now for the harsh reality. This is not how most remote employees work on any given day, which is why you should feel a bit wary. Remote workers know they have more freedom and flexibility than their in-office counterparts do and, as a result, they can easily be sidetracked and lose focus. Texting friends, perusing social media accounts, watching television, and spending time with family members during work hours can all result in lost productivity. In some cases, remote employees who waste time during the day end up rushing to get their work done, and it ends up being subpar.
Set rules and expectations.
You are too busy running your small business to worry about your remote workers’ productivity. Therefore, it is very important that you convey to them, and to their managers, what is expected of them so they can achieve success. Set expectations for work hours, projects, and individual goals, and put it in writing so everyone is on the same page. Moreover, include all of your remote work guidelines and protocols in your employee manual to make it official.
This system lets your remote workers know what is expected of them, and it can keep them focused on their daily responsibilities. In the event that one of your employees starts to lag in terms of their production or quality of work, you and your human resources manager will be fully prepared to discuss with them so there is no understanding or confusion.
Use project management tracking software.
The best way to track the performance of your remote workers is to invest in project management tracking software, which can be installed and deployed by your IT manager. This software affords you, your managers, and your remote workers with a high level of transparency. It gives you the power to plan, track and report on daily workflow, all in an automated fashion. Furthermore, it holds your remote workers accountable for their work on an hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
They will not be able to work sparingly during the week and finish a pending task at the final hour. That is because project management software tracks every step of the process. There are a number of cloud-based project management software platforms available, and they can be customized based on your company’s needs and number of licenses you need to purchase.