Work from home, remote work and flexible working hours – these are all oft-repeated buzzwords that you’ll find in any State of Work report published in the last five years. The truth is that these are not just fads any more. As the economy grapples with seismic technological changes, there is a marked shift in the needs and attitudes of employees as well. Remote work is seen as an additional benefit by some workers, but 61% workers have left or have considered leaving a job because of the lack of flexibility. The main reasons that the modern day workforce has come to prioritize flexibility over pay are:
- Work-life balance
- Spending time with family
- Reducing commute times
- Saving time
It’s evident that the need for flexible work options is not a passing fad. Not taking this into account might mean missing out on promising talent for businesses, even small businesses. So, how should companies approach this issue in order to ensure that they are truly supporting remote workers?
Here are some tips for managing remote employees that your small business should consider:
- Attract and Retain the Right Kind of Talent
It is important to understand what kind of employee is suited to a work from home job. One of the vital tips for managing remote employees is to select the right kind of remote employees first. So your recruiting manager and HR department should make the effort to understand that the kind of candidate needed is one who is intrinsically motivated, can handle the physical barrier between her and her teammates, and has preferably been successful in such an arrangement before. Attracting them might not be a problem, but retaining them and getting the best out of them might be. But if your business keeps the following points in mind, it can be a rewarding experience for all the stakeholders.
- Build a Robust Communication Framework
To manage remote employees well, there needs to be an emphasis on creating a strong communication framework that incorporates the right tools and strategies to build a company culture that sees remote workers as assets who are no less important than in-house teams. Often, virtual workers might feel left out, especially if their in-office counterparts are in a different country across the globe. When employees work from home, they depend on their communication systems to stay in the loop. A simple office phone number might not be enough to accomplish that. An advanced VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony service like CallHippo, which provides virtual phone numbers, can be of immense help here. CallHippo’s business phone number is perfect for virtual meetings and conferences. Additionally, the CallHippo business phone number is enhanced with features that make it a great training tool for sales and support teams. A virtual phone number can go a long way in building a robust communication framework with your remote teams.
- Encourage Transparency Across All Levels
This ties in perfectly with the need for a robust communication framework. Employees across departments and locations should know what is happening in the company. So, it is vital to hold company-wide meetings on a regular basis. Even if you have employees who work from home, they should be in the know about company initiatives, its financial position, and department performance. In fact, department meetings with the team leader are also crucial, be it via phone or video call, because it allows them to connect with remote teams and hence, manage remote employees more effectively. As mentioned before, virtual workers might feel left out due to their physical absence from the office, but checking in with them frequently and building a culture of transparency allows companies to bridge that gap. It shows that they actually care about supporting remote workers.
- Time Tracking
This one’s optional, but if you’re worried that employees working remotely for your small business are going to waste time slacking off, you can invest in time tracking tools. While CallHippo may not have dedicated time tracking features yet, the virtual phone number does come with a timezone integration that allows you to see the time in your remote employee’s time zone instantly. Tools like Timely and Hubstaff allow automatic time tracking and deliver detailed reports on your employees’ productivity. But there’s not much to worry about in that area. A Stanford study recently showed that by supporting remote workers, businesses witnessed a huge productivity boost! So, one of the most important tips for managing remote employees might just involve letting them be!
Building a positive remote work culture is hard work, but it is vital for businesses of all sizes today. As the workforce embraces the remote economy, so should businesses. It doesn’t matter your industry – from real estate, to tech companies – everyone is turning to remote talent. The aforementioned tips for managing remote employees can help your small business to streamline its work from home policies, fine tune intra-team relationships and create a work culture that celebrates remote workers.