We’ve been championing this topic almost incessantly: work doesn’t actually happen at the office.
Now more than ever, people know that work – the productive kind – can happen anywhere and anytime. Office designers can optimize a space to bring out the productivity in employees, but that can only work to a certain extent. There are still people out there with unique wants and needs in terms of where they can do their best work. It could be their own homes, a coffee shop, by the beach, or maybe even in the loo.
The new world of work provides everyone with the choice and the tools to work anywhere, and here are some of the reasons why your company should embrace remote work:
1. You get work done. Remote work means shorter or no commuting time. It also means people enjoy privacy and manage when and where they would want to collaborate with others. Lastly, their work hours are tailor fit to the times when they are most productive. All of this translates to less wasted time, more productive hours at work, and less-stressed out employees.
2. Your company can get the best people. HR has always been faced with this challenge: get the best talent at the lowest possible cost. Limiting your company to a 30-mile radius might not be enough, so why not get them from another city, another state, or another country?
3. It’s easier these days. Video messaging, productivity apps, even telepresence tools are already out there, and they are becoming better and more affordable. Equip your team with a laptop and internet and you’re already in business.
It really is easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.
How to Manage Telework?
1. Always Be Connected
Because innovation comes through effective interaction and collaboration, it is important to be able to communicate with your team and share ideas. You can now interact your team using internet messaging services like Skype, Viber, and Google Talk that keeps record of conversations for documentation. You can also exchange files easily with the likes of OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud. Avoid email like a plague especially when giving feedback because it takes away one very important thing: nonverbal communication. Also, when an email includes several team members, many important points get lost in the seemingly endless thread.
2. Be Output Oriented and Clear on Your Goals
Being at the office for 8 hours or more is no longer the mark of doing good work. It’s really in the output. Therefore employees need to be evaluated based on their output and not on just being present. Best Buy and Gap used a system called ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) and saw improvements in their productivity, turnover rate, and customer satisfaction. Before you send out your team to wherever they want to work, you should be able to set your goals straight. This will give employees a better picture of how they would self-manage, and will keep everyone in sync even if they’re not physically together. KPIs for long-term goals, and the popular SMART(ER) goals for short-term deliverables should do the trick. There are also several web apps and mobile apps for task tracking, CRM, and HR (shameless plug: Xamun) that help organize things so you can manage work as if you’re all in the same room. These apps have some built-in communication and file-sharing features, so you’ll be able to achieve item #1 and #2 right away.
3. Create the Right Company Culture
We often hear about having a company culture but what is it really? Company culture is defined as the personality of a company, whatever it values, its mission, vision, goals etc. And how do you create one with a team of remote workers? Use technology that unites employees, use video calling/conferences once in a while. Make opportunity to have face time (GoToMeeting or Skype video) and get it on schedule. When you keep everyone connected be it sharing the simplest detail of the project or just consulting them on ideas and giving them the chance to voice their thoughts, it can create a deeper bond and certain connectedness even if they are miles apart.
These tips are just some of the things you can do to help you manage remote workers. It’s no longer a question of whether your company should consider hiring remote workers and allowing existing ones to work remotely; it’s already a question of how you should go about it.