There are many benefits to employing remote workers for your business, such as reduced overheads and better flexibility. But managing them comes with its own challenges. On-site employees jesting that their homeworker colleagues are “slacking”, and a lack of visibility on productivity are just some of the obstacles you might face when managing remote workers.
Then there’s the unusual interruptions that can arise when working from home. Remember when Professor Robert Kelly’s children decided to gate crash his live interview on BBC News?
Whether you employ office staff that work from home on the odd occasion, operate teams overseas or supervise a large network of homeworkers, remote work needs dedicated management to suit a unique set of circumstances.
The rise of remote working
Perhaps you are yet to manage remote workers. But as the desire for flexibility picks up pace amongst today’s working population, you may find yourself managing people working remotely sooner than you think. Over 1.5 million people currently work from home and more people are seeking opportunities that offer a good work-life balance. Additionally, advances in technology continue to better our channels of communication and aid our ability to work well remotely.
Ultimately, hiring or appointing remote workers is your decision and will come down to the specific needs of your business.
Effective management of remote workers
If you’re considering widening your prospects for recruitment or would like to review your current management of employees working from home, see our top tips below.
A stigma of home working is that if you are not seen to be working, you can be perceived to not be working. This assumption can damage working relationships between co-workers and the morale of the person working from home, who may feel a need to overcompensate.
To overcome this, consider online solutions for tracking workflow and productivity. Having all employees update their progress, regardless of their location, via the same system, can improve transparency and productivity.
Using video calls to keep everyone in the loop
As with all employees, good communication is essential. This can be even more important when managing those working remotely. If your team is prone to having open discussions and making quick decisions, those working from home could be missing out.
For any important matters make sure to schedule a meeting and dial in the relevant remote workers. If you can add video to the call, even better. Participants are less likely to zone out if they are on camera and it’s nice to see a familiar face once in a while.
Working remotely offers less of an opportunity to connect with colleagues and can sometimes be an isolating experience. It’s important that managers and co-workers remain mindful of this and include remote workers whenever possible.
Some simple ways of being inclusive can be remembering to invite homeworkers to socials or team away days, scheduling meet-ups between homeworkers or days when they can come to the office. Or even allowing them to claim back a home delivery if the whole team is enjoying a pizza reward.
Help with managing home workers
Happy and productive remote workers can be a real asset to your workforce when they are managed well. If you’re thinking of introducing remote working to your business and want to implement a remote worker policy, contact your local HR Dept today.