The workforce around the globe is changing. There is an ever-increasing number of remote workers, and this isn’t expected to stop anytime soon. People are seeing the value of working from home, and many will never go back to the office. In addition to the many benefits for workers, companies themselves can enjoy benefits like better productivity, happier and more loyal employees, and even cost savings in some situations.
While remote workers can be great for employers and employees alike, it is possible to make mistakes. These mistakes can lead to inefficiency, unhappiness, and several other issues. Without any further ado, this guide is going to take a closer look at some mistakes to ensure you avoid when employing a remote workforce.
Not Monitoring Your Employees
The first mistake is not using monitoring software for employees. When working with remote employees, you put a lot of trust in them. Because you can’t simply pop by their desk and check-in, you need to trust they are doing their work day in and day out.
While plenty of them do, and many workers are even more productive at home than in the office, there certainly are those who slack off at home and get distracted. Using employee monitoring software helps you keep tabs on what your employees are doing with their time.
You can track what sites they are on, and the apps they are using, take screenshots, and even receive helpful reports to learn more about how your team spends their time. These tools are great for keeping workers on task and teaching them good habits.
Of course, be reasonable with how this technology is used. If you are too strict with monitoring and employees feel like they are always under a microscope, it has the potential to drive them away.
Communication is important within any workplace, but especially one that focuses on remote workers. When you are in an office setting, communication is easy and doesn’t take a lot of effort. But when work is done remotely, managers need to go the extra mile to ensure information is shared.
Miscommunication can easily occur, and some workers may not be told everything they should have been. Remote work can also be isolating, so make an effort to communicate often with remote workers, to ensure they feel like part of the team and have all of the information they need.
Communicate in ways they are comfortable with, such as live chat or email, but options like video conferencing or meetings/calls are also a good idea. Barriers in communication can be tough, so you need to go the extra mile to ensure communication remains effective at all times.
Not Setting Proper Expectations
Not being able to properly set employee expectations is another major mistake you need to avoid. People who work from home, especially those who are new to it, can be a little confused when it comes to what you expect of them.
In the office, it is easy to have conversations, pop by, and mention expectations for the day/week in passing. But those working from home may not get this and can find it difficult to know how much you expect them to do, and the level of productivity you expect them to have.
Always make expectations clear from the start, check in often, and make sure to update remote workers if these expectations change. You can’t expect employees to simply know what you want from them, so make it known.
Not Providing Enough Tools or Training
Remote workers generally require a lot of tools and technology to do their job well. This includes a computer and various types of software or programs. If you do not give them access to everything they need to do their job well, don’t be shocked when they aren’t very productive. Always make sure every remote worker has access to all platforms, tools, and technologies that they should when they are hired.
While providing them with the necessary tools and technology is important, you also need to ensure they are properly trained on how to use them. If you simply give them the tools and tell them to start working, they won’t be nearly as effective as they should be.
Take time to bring them up to speed on everything, and ensure they truly understand how to use them before leaving them on their own. Sure, more intensive and detailed training can be more expensive and time-consuming but is well worth it for the benefits.
While keeping tabs on your remote workers to ensure they are being productive is fine, you want to avoid micromanaging too much. If you are always looking over their shoulder, workers can feel smothered and like you don’t trust them.
There are many negative effects of micromanagement, such as lower performance at work, less motivation, burnout, and even a higher turnover rate. You need to trust your workers to do a good job and believe that you trained them well enough to succeed without constantly checking on them. Do your best to find the balance between managing properly and checking in, without being overbearing and annoying to your workers.
Not Providing Tech Support
As mentioned earlier, many remote workers make use of a variety of tools and technology. While it would be lovely if these always worked as they should, this isn’t the case. Workers will experience issues with these tools, and you need to make sure you are quick to respond to concerns and problems.
Just because remote workers may have less contact with you, doesn’t mean that they don’t require any help, support, or assistance. Always maintain an open line of communication so remote workers can report issues, and provide them with helpful tech support when needed.
Leaving remote workers to deal with these issues on their own or find their own solutions/answers can be incredibly disheartening.
In conclusion, it is crucial that your business is able to avoid these mistakes when working with a remote workforce.