Running a business includes the cost of real estate, office equipment, stationery, WIFI, utilities, and all the other miscellaneous expenses that working from an office incur. It makes sense that transitioning to a fully remote workforce can save a business a lot of money.
On average, a fully remote company can save around $10,000 every year for every employee. But you’re not just saving on overheads. Remote workers are 13% more efficient and 25% less stressed than workers in an office environment.
Remote working remotely is a win-win for businesses and employees because workers are the lifeblood of a company.
The flexibility that remote workers enjoy improves their work-life balance – which means that employees are happier, more motivated, and more productive. And more output from your workers translates into more profit for your business. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, working remotely is not for everyone. But there are things you can do to help your remote team perform their best.
Table of Contents
1. Track Your Employee’s Progress
Being able to track your employees’ progress is an essential part of project management. You need to know how to monitor remote workers, how much time it will take to complete, and if there are ways to optimize the process.
Having your employees submit a work schedule or timesheet reinforces expectations and provides structure for your employees. Better yet, implementing employee timesheet software to automate the process and keep you in the loop will let you know how an employee is managing their time.
2. Enforce a Messaging System
Having a plan for synchronous and asynchronous messages is vital. Notification fatigue occurs within a workforce when unnecessary messages go back and forth. Back-and-forth messages on asynchronous channels like email, Slack, and other communication apps waste valuable time and distract other team members from their work.
Urgent queries and clarifications can be addressed instantly via a synchronous channel like a phone call, in-person meeting, or video conference. It’s essential that team members know when to use which communication channel.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions About Messages
Remote teams are limited when their communication is via text only. Text in messages or emails contains no tone, inflection, or body language. Without visual cues, it’s easy to misinterpret what someone is saying or even assume a different context.
It’s essential to train your employees to assume that there are good intentions behind every text message. This eliminates doubt and confusion and saves time for everyone.
4. Clarify Expectations Early and Often
Your remote team should always be aware of deadlines, turnaround times, communication protocols, staffing changes, availability, and priorities.
Keeping workers up to date will ensure that they have enough information to work independently and will minimize the need for clarification.
5. Touch Base with Regular Video Conferences
Regular video conference calls with team members help establish a rapport, promote team spirit, and strengthen the team.
Effective communication during conference calls can also help clarify objectives. If every team member is informed about changes, realigned with priorities, and briefed on projects, there will be less wasted time.
6. Prepare for Meetings
Train your team to prepare before every meeting. Create an agenda and stick to it. Appoint someone to take minutes and document everything.
When employees work remotely, it’s easy to forget about essential points and make assumptions. Documenting deadlines, expectations, and any challenges ensures that there is accountability, transparency, and ownership.
7. Stick to Your Schedule
Remote working requires every employee to keep their appointments. Because workers are in different time zones, missed or rescheduled meetings can cause chaos.
It’s important to schedule regular conference calls according to a general consensus among employees and make sure everyone treats these meetings as a priority. This way, workers can plan their time accordingly and avoid decreased productivity.
8. Help Employees See the Bigger Picture
Employees who work remotely can feel isolated and forgotten at times. This can be because they are not directly interacting with other team members and can lose sight of where they fit into the company as a whole.
Aligning every team member with your goals and why you are asking them to perform a particular task can help them feel included and help them see their work as part of a larger whole.
9. Provide Regular Feedback
While it’s easy to put feedback off until quarterly or annual employee reviews, it’s vital to be responsive and solicit feedback from employees regularly.
Learning about an employee’s challenges, pitfalls, or concerns will foster a proactive approach to managing a remote workforce rather than a reactive one. Regular feedback will ensure that any information that arises can be dealt with before it becomes a more significant issue. Things that fly under the radar can stagnate and cause a toxic working environment for everyone.
10. Respect Boundaries and Vacations
Remote workers should be able to log time off in advance, and they should be able to trust other team members to carry responsibility so that they can completely relax and unwind. Vacation time is vital for all employees to avoid burnout.
Similarly, expectations around responding to after-work messages, texts, video calls, and emails should be established early and agreed upon. This helps remote workers maintain a healthy work-life balance, which increases productivity in the long run.
11. Celebrate Success
To help employees feel less isolated when they are working remotely, managers should look for opportunities to give their workers recognition and praise for their contributions.
It’s helpful to celebrate the same milestones that you would celebrate in the office. If you would have gone on a company retreat, try to recreate that celebration and recognize hardworking employees virtually.
Due to the current global climate, more and more businesses have been forced to transition to a fully remote workplace. However, there are benefits to having a remote workforce – namely, drastically reduced costs.
Remote working has become the “new normal” worldwide, but it’s not hard to see why many more businesses will implement this business model.