Remote work has proven itself to be successful in certain types of companies. For years, hiring remote workers has given companies the opportunity to save on time and resources for both employees and employers alike. With the disruption brought by the pandemic, having flexible work arrangements such as the work-from-home setup has become rampant worldwide.
Your company may have found itself in the same situation, where you have to ask employees to work remotely in order for your team to rethink your strategies in saving costs. However, since this concept is new to most businesses, you might find yourself exploring or getting confused about this whole concept.
Is remote work fit for my company?
For starters, not all businesses are fit for flexible arrangement. Companies that 100% thrive from distributed work are tech companies such as WordPress and GitHub. This is because most of their operations can be done through online collaboration.
Many large enterprises, meanwhile, such as Amazon and Google, have remote workforce through business process outsourcing. Some of their functions are done outside of their headquarters and in offshore outsourcing services providers in India and the Philippines.
Where you fit on the two models of remote work depends on your business operations and how you prefer to manage your workforce. Whether you’re expanding your operations or adjusting on your new setup, remember that there are do’s and don’ts in hiring and managing your remote workers. If you want your operations to be successful, you should avoid the following don’ts for your company.
Not having clear goals, objectives, and duties when hiring
There’s a famous saying that goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Hiring and managing remote workers should be planned very carefully for the process to be successful.
You should define clear goals and objectives for your remote workers. Always remember to follow the SMART method of creating goals. Don’t make it too general as to what a role entails.
Detail their duties and responsibilities and its specifics to avoid confusion in the future.
These create direction and purpose of a remote employee in a company.
Delegating a task that’s not suitable for remote work
Remember that not all office duties are suitable for remote work: for instance, some secretarial responsibilities such as preparing documents for signature and ordering coffee on your behalf, requires their presence in your office. Operational duties, such as manufacturing, employee management, and strategic meetings, are better done inside the office.
This is why defining duties is crucial to remote work. You have to determine what you should and should not delegate to your workers to manage your team more properly.
Delegating too many (or too few) tasks
It is vital to balance your workers’ duties at the company, especially when working from home.
Your workers are humans – not robots. There’s always a specific capacity of workload they can take since they also have to juggle their household and personal chores after their work hours. Giving them way too many tasks than they can take can get them overworked and may lead to burnout, which may drastically affect their productivity.
Giving them too few tasks is equally as bad. You may end up taking half or almost all of their responsibilities and not utilizing them enough to your advantage.
Not having proper (online) tools in place
Online tools make remote work easier. They can be your great companion when you use them properly.
Always remember that there are alternate tools you can use for every function. You would not want to send an email to a colleague asking about their progress and expect them to answer instantly. Use messaging tools like Skype and Google Meet for this.
Instead of browsing endless threads of emails and instant messages just to look for a document, you can save it in a cloud storage where everyone can access as well. Project management tools are also there so you can track your employees’ progress properly.
Micromanaging remote workers
Sure, you need to monitor your workers if they are doing their work well. However, you should set a limitation on when and how you monitor them. You do not want to interrupt their lives outside of work only because you need assurance that everything is in place.
Rule of thumb on remote work management: don’t micromanage. It destroys your employees’ trust and morale, which leads to burnout and feeling of not being trusted enough to perform their jobs well. Remember to use your screen monitoring software wisely.
Additionally, not every role is suitable for screen monitoring. For instance, designers, writers, and other creatives are tracked based on their quality and quantity of output. Remote technical support providers can also be tracked via their response times and number of resolved tickets per day.
Not treating remote employees as part of the company
Lastly, since your employees work away from the office, they will always feel “outside” and disconnected from your company. Isolating them even more will worsen this condition. As a result, they might end up disliking the company and its culture, resulting in employee attrition.
Always treat your employees as you do your in-house ones. Give them a warm welcome from onboarding and be consistent on giving company updates. Reward them for every great job they do, and create an open line for communication. Online tools can help you with tracking the top remote employees on your team, and will help you create a fun yet productive virtual company culture.
In the end, happy (remote) employees can drive your company to greatness and success.